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Tesla picks Austin for new car plant

Electric car maker Tesla Inc. has picked the Austin, Texas, area as the site for its largest auto assembly plant employing at least 5,000 workers.

The new factory will build Tesla's upcoming Cybertruck pickup and will be a second U.S. manufacturing site for the Model Y small SUV, largely for distribution to the East Coast.

Tesla will build on a 2,100-acre (85-hectacre) site in Travis County near Austin and will get more than $60 million in tax breaks from the county and a local school district over the next decade. State incentives also are possible for the plant, which will be over 4 million square feet.

The company has pledged to invest $1.1 billion and said it will pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour to employees and provide health insurance, paid leave and other benefits.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has reportedly been happy with Texas, where his SpaceX rocket company has operations in Brownsville and in McGregor north of Austin.

 

Whirlpool profits beat expectations

Despite a 22.1% drop in sales due to the coronavirus, Whirlpool Corp. on Wednesday reported second-quarter profit of $35 million.

The Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company said it had net income of 55 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to $2.15 per share.

The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 74 cents per share.

The maker of Maytag, KitchenAid and other appliances posted revenue of $4.04 billion in the period, which also beat Street forecasts.

Whirlpool is the leading kitchen and laundry appliance company in the world, with approximately $20 billion in annual sales, 77,000 employees and 59 manufacturing and technology research centers in 2019, including oven and stove manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, Tennessee.

 

United mandates masks at all airports

Passengers wishing to board a United Airlines flight will have to wear face masks at ticket counters and in its airport lounges, or risk a flight ban from the carrier.

United and all other major U.S. carriers require passengers to wear masks during flights. United said Wednesday that it is broadening mask requirements for passengers even before they board the plane.

As on planes, children under 2 are not required to be masked, nor are passengers who have a health condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.

On Tuesday, United reported a $1.6 billion loss during the normally strong second quarter, as revenue plunged 89% from the same period last year.

Air travel was slowly recovering before it stalled in the last few weeks as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged, especially in the South. About 530,000 people went through security checkpoints at U.S. airports on Tuesday, the lowest number in July other than the July 4 holiday.

 

Microsoft says virus cuts product demand

Microsoft said the coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for its flagship products, reporting quarterly earnings Wednesday that beat Wall Street expectations.

The software giant said an ongoing trend of working and learning from home has fueled increased demand for its cloud computing services and workplace productivity products, such as email and video conferencing.

But the pandemic has also slowed sales of those products to smaller businesses, and eaten into the advertising revenue that powers its LinkedIn career networking service.

Microsoft on Wednesday reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $11.2 billion, or $1.46 per share, beating Wall Street expectations of $1.34 a share.

It posted revenue of $38 billion in the April-June period, up 13% from last year. Analysts had been looking for revenue of $36.5 billion, according to FactSet.

The company said its commercial cloud business surpassed $50 billion in annual revenue for the first time. But its LinkedIn service was hit by a weak job market and less money being spent on advertising.

LinkedIn announced Tuesday it is laying off nearly 1,000 employees, approximately 6% of its workforce globally. The job cuts take effect in August and will hit global sales and hiring sections of the company.

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