Business Briefs – May 6, 2019

U.S.-China Deal Seems Dim But Possible as Talks Stay On Track

BEIJING (AP) – President Donald Trump’s new threat to escalate tariffs on Chinese goods has clouded prospects for a trade agreement, though preparations by Beijing’s envoys to still visit the United States this week are buoying hopes for some breakthrough to end the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Trump’s threat was seen as an effort to intensify pressure on Beijing to agree to a deal that would be to Trump’s liking.

Google’s AI Assistant Aims to Transcend the Smart Speaker

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Google’s digital voice assistant still trails Amazon in the smart speaker race. But Google launched its artificially intelligent Assistant when the field was dominated by Amazon and Apple, and it has gained considerable ground since. Google is expected to announce updates to its voice assistant and smart home products Tuesday at its annual developers conference in Mountain View, California.

Microsoft Offers Software Tools to Secure Elections

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) – Microsoft announced an ambitious effort it says will make voting secure, verifiable and subject to reliable audits. Two of the three top U.S. elections vendors have expressed interest in potentially incorporating the open-source software into their proprietary voting systems.

Lord & Taylor May Be Put On the Block Soon

NEW YORK (AP) – Lord & Taylor, one of the country’s oldest department stores, may be put up for sale. Hudson’s Bay, which owns Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, said Monday that it hired a financial adviser to review Lord & Taylor’s business and that the process may lead to a sale or merger. Lord & Taylor traces its origins to more than 190 years ago, when it was founded as a dry goods store in 1826.

Kraft Heinz Restates Earnings Over Period Of 2+ Years

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Kraft Heinz is restating its financial results for the years 2016, 2017, and for the first nine months of 2018. The company said in February that it was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its procurement operations. Kraft Heinz Co. said in a regulatory filing on Monday that several employees within its procurement operations engaged in misconduct. It said that the misstatements were “not quantitatively material to any quarter.”

Survey Shows Eurozone Economy Loses More Momentum in April

LONDON (AP) – A closely watched survey is showing that the 19-country eurozone economy lost further momentum in April.

Financial information firm IHS Markit said Monday that its composite purchasing managers index — a broad gauge of economic activity — fell modestly to 51.5 in April from 51.6 in May. Although the index remains above the 50 no-change mark, it is pointing to fairly lackluster quarterly growth of 0.2%.