US stocks were spurred higher today after better-than-expected manufacturing data. The S&P 500 index topped the 2,100 psychological level, while the Dow briefly climbed above the 18,000 level by midday.
Automotive and car-related stocks are also making headlines today. US auto sales for the month of June came out better than expected and the industry is on course to setting a record for the first six months of the year, supported by low gasoline prices and easy credit. Let’s take a look at the main car makers and also find out how Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) has angered some of its employees.
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Autopilot Still Not Safe
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has made headlines today for the wrong reasons. Federal highway safety regulators are investigating a fatal crash that involved a Tesla Model S running in Autopilot mode. Following the collision with a truck, the driver of the Tesla vehicle was killed. The company has defended itself, stating that customers are required to give “explicit acknowledgement” that the Autopilot technology is still new and under development, and that drivers still have to have their hands on the wheel at all times. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares opened 2.8% lower this morning but have quickly regained most of the ground lost in pre-market trading. The popularity of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) among the funds followed by Insider Monkey rose significantly during the first quarter, as the number of long positions reached 39 at the end of March, up from 29 a quarter before.
Cost Cutting Measures Anger Employees
Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)‘s cost cutting measure are being heavily criticized by their employees. An online petition created by one of its employees claims the company’s work hours reductions are having a negative impact on employee morale and are hurting customer service. Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) has recently introduced technology that allows customer to order and pay using their smartphones. On top of that, the company is using clever algorithms to determine labor needs in each location based on business trends. According to Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Riley, the company’s CEO Howard Schultz has already spoken with the author of the petition and is looking into the matter. Hedge fund interest in Starbucks cooled down during the quarter, as the number of funds from our database with long positions in Starbucks dropped to 52 from 61 registered at the end of December.
Turn the page to find out more about June auto sales and Hertz’s new partnership.