Global Glance: Macy’s AI tool, Volkswagen, Pimco

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

Macy’s tests artificial intelligence tool to improve service

NEW YORK (AP) — Macy’s is testing a mobile tool using artificial intelligence that lets shoppers get answers customized to the store they’re in – like where a particular brand is located or what’s in stock – that they would normally ask a sales associate face-to-face. The tool, which the nation’s largest department store chain calls a “mobile companion,” can be accessed for now through a browser and will accept questions in 10 U.S. locations about products, services and facilities. It uses natural language and offers feedback in seconds. It’s developed by IBM Watson – the Jeopardy-winning “cognitive computing” service and is designed to keep learning more about the store’s customers. Read more

Volkswagen shares soar after buoyant earnings update

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen shares soared Wednesday after the German car giant revealed that its first-half earnings before charges related to its diesel-emissions scandal were “significantly higher” than market forecasts. In an unexpected announcement Wednesday, Volkswagen said its operating profit before special items for the first six months of the year was $8.25 billion despite the economic impact from what it terms “the Diesel issue.” Read more

Pimco lures away head of Man Group to be its new CEO

LONDON (AP) — Pimco, one of the world’s biggest bond investors, has nabbed the head of hedge fund giant Man Group to be its next chief executive. The firm based in Newport Beach, California, said in a statement Wednesday that Manny Roman will replace current CEO Douglas Hodge, who will become a managing director. The firm boasts $1.5 trillion in assets under management as of June. Read more

KFC, Apple in China hit by South China Sea spat

BEIJING (AP) — To the challenges facing KFC and Apple in China, add a surprise backlash from Beijing’s spat with the Philippines over the South China Sea. Nationalists are protesting at KFC outlets and calling for a boycott, spurred by government accusations that the United States encouraged Manila to oppose Beijing’s claims to vast tracts of ocean. Photos circulated online show young Chinese wearing scarves with patriotic slogans smashing Apple iPhones in protest. State media have fanned public anger with a torrent of criticism of last week’s ruling by a U.N. tribunal, which found no legal basis for Beijing’s claim to most of the South China Sea. Read more

Kids leaving home doesn’t always lead to parents saving more

CHICAGO (AP) — Raising kids costs a lot of money, so when they finally strike out on their own it stands to reason that parents would have more money to spend, save or invest. How they spend that money can have large consequences for their retirement security. A report by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research found that empty nesters do increase savings, but the increases are “extremely small,” suggesting that baby boomers may be losing out on a critical opportunity to save for retirement. Read more

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