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Prices of grocery staples could rise as drought conditions worsen

In this Wed., July 26, 2017, photo, soybeans grow in a farm field near Indianola, Iowa. Drought conditions are getting worse in several states, and extreme heat and weeks with little rain have begun to stress corn, soybeans, wheat and livestock in some areas. AP DES MOINES, Iowa — Drought conditions worsened in several states over the past week from extreme heat and weeks with little rain, raising the prospect that grocery staples such as bread and beans could cost more as the region that produces those commodities is hardest…

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Here’s the No. 1 consumer complaint in America

Americans love their cars, but their cars — and the auto industry — doesn’t always love them back.  Auto-related problems are the most common complaints among consumers, who cited everything from misrepresentations in sales to leasing disputes, according to a new report from the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators. The report surveyed 39 state and local consumer protection agencies in 23 states about the most common complaints they received last year.  Leasing used cars is emerging as a sore spot for consumers, who may…

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Arconic: We don’t control how flammable panels are used

ATLANTA – The U.S. company that manufactured panels on a London apartment tower where at least 80 people perished in an inferno has quit selling them for high rises because it has no control over their installation, a top company executive said Monday. Arconic (ARNC) is continuing to work with investigators to determine what caused the flames to spread so rapidly at Grenfell Tower on June 14, interim CEO David Hess told investors during an earnings call. “Cladding systems contain various components selected and put together by architects, contractors, fabricators…

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Birkenstock’s CEO slams Amazon over third-party sales

The CEO of Birkenstock is squaring off with the online retail giant Amazon.  Birkenstock is fighting a new Amazon program that buys products from third-party merchants and sells them on its website. The footwear company pulled its products from Amazon earlier this year.  In an email obtained by the Washington Post, Birkenstock’s CEO, David Kahan, wrote to shop owners, “I share in no uncertain terms that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Any authorized retailer who may do this for even a single pair will be closed forever….

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5 things we learned from Facebook’s latest blowout quarter

Stock analysts are running out of superlatives for Facebook (FB) after its latest blockbuster earnings report. Needham & Co.’s Laura Martin called the social media giant an “economic juggernaut.” Facebook is “hitting on all cylinders,” according to Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities. Gene Munster of Loup Capital gushed that “It’s hard to find fault with the quarter,” while Victor Anthony of Aegis Capital spoke of how Facebook continued its “impressive streak of quarterly outperformance.”   Not surprisingly, these and other analysts recommend that investors buy Facebook’s shares. According to FactSet,…

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The future of renewable energy is in Texas

Renewable energy isn’t at a crossroads in the U.S. so much as on a two-lane highway: While the federal government hits the gas on fossil fuels, states are speeding ahead to develop renewable energy — and reaching new milestones. For example, enough solar energy is being collected every year to power all the single-family homes in Florida. Three states generate more than one-third of their energy from wind and solar. Some 160,000 electric cars were sold last year — enough to supply the entire population of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And…

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Samsung is about to dethrone Intel as king of microchips

There’s a new king in the semiconductor industry.  Intel’s more than two decade-long reign as the king of the silicon-based semiconductor is poised to end Thursday when South Korea’s Samsung Electronics elbows the U.S. manufacturer aside to become the leading maker of computer chips. Samsung reported record-high quarterly profit and sales Thursday. Analysts say it likely nudged aside Intel (INTC) in the April-June quarter as the leading maker of semiconductors, the computer chips that are as much a staple of the 21st century wired world as crude oil was for…

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Why cable customers can’t get rid of the cable box

It wasn’t long ago when it seemed as if bulky cable boxes might be going the way of TV antennas.  The federal government was pressuring cable companies to open up their near-monopoly on boxes to more competition, and industry leader Comcast promised apps that could render some boxes obsolete. That was then. Today, the vast majority of customers still need to rent a box to get full service from cable providers, and those box-replacing apps remain elusive. Here’s what happened. DITCHING THE BOX In 2015, tech companies and consumer advocates…

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