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Tesla forms committee to assess privatization; Turkey raises tariffs on US cars

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Tesla forms committee to assess privatization; Turkey raises tariffs on US cars

TOP NEWS

* Tesla Inc.'s board formed a special committee to evaluate, negotiate and approve the take-private transaction proposed by CEO Elon Musk. The three-member special committee consists of Tesla independent directors Brad Buss, Robyn Denholm and Linda Johnson Rice and will have "the full power and authority" on behalf of the board with regard to the potential deal and alternatives to any transaction Musk proposes, the board said in a statement. The special committee has not yet received a formal proposal from Musk regarding the potential transaction and has not yet decided on the advisability or feasibility of the deal.

* Turkey is imposing new tariffs on certain U.S. imports, including raising levies on automobiles to 120%, adding to its diplomatic rift with the U.S. that has triggered a currency crisis, media reports said. The move is a retaliation to Washington's decision to impose financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and double tariffs on the country's steel and aluminum in a bid to pressure Ankara to release Andrew Brunson, an American pastor being tried in the country on espionage and terrorism-related charges.

CARMAKERS

* Ford Motor Co. said it will spend $740 million on a project to revamp Michigan Central Station, a Detroit landmark that the carmaker plans to turn into a hub for its self-driving car business, as well as other neighborhood sites over the next four years, Reuters reported. The company said it is seeking at least $250 million in tax or other incentives to support the development of the five Corktown sites Ford has purchased.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* T. Rowe Price, Tesla's second-largest shareholder as of March 31, cut its stake in the electric-car maker by nearly 24% during the second quarter, before CEO Elon Musk announced that he would try to take the company private. As per its ownership filing, T. Rowe Price owned 11,931,923 Tesla shares as of June 30, down from 15,625,798 shares as of March 31. Another major investor, Fidelity Investments, also trimmed its Tesla shareholding by 21% during the quarter, Reuters reported.

* Ford will soon offer its cloud-based connected cars platform in China following an agreement between its Autonomic unit and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-owned Alibaba Cloud. Under the agreement, Alibaba Cloud will host Autonomic's Transportation Mobility Cloud, an open platform that enables communication between cars and city infrastructure. The platform will allow other automakers, developers and fleet-owners to offer vehicle connectivity and mobility services for customers, including routing self-driving cars.

* Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd., which owns a 45% stake in U.S.-based Faraday Future, said the electric-car startup has set up its operating headquarters in China and plans to build five production and research and development bases across the country in the next decade, Reuters reported. The company plans to reach an annual production capacity of 5 million vehicles after 10 years as it aims to launch various multitype vehicle series covering high- to low-end products in the global market to establish internet-based smart traveling, the company reportedly said in a statement.

REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* A third Tesla investor filed a lawsuit against the electric-car maker and CEO Elon Musk following the latter's take-private tweet, accusing them of artificially inflating the company's stock price, Jalopnik reported. The lawsuit by plaintiff John Yeager followed two separate class-action lawsuits by investors Kalman Isaacs and William Chamberlain in a San Francisco federal court, accusing Tesla and Musk of manipulating stock prices.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Volkswagen AG's Škoda unit reported a 14.6% year-over-year growth in worldwide sales in July. The carmaker sold 99,700 vehicles globally, with sales increasing 24.7% in Russia, 15.7% in Europe, 13.9% in China and 12.7% in India.

TRUCKS AND MOTORCYCLES

* Harley-Davidson Inc. CEO Matt Levatich, without naming President Donald Trump, criticized "misinformation" about the iconic motorcycle-maker's plans to move European production out of the U.S in response to the Trump administration's trade conflict with Europe, CNBC reported, citing a memo from Levatich to employees and dealers. Following the Milwaukee-based company's decision to move some production overseas, Trump threatened to tax Harley-Davidson "like never before" and backed a boycott of the company.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 1.55% to 27,323.59, and the Nikkei 225 fell 0.68% to 22,204,22.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.87% to 7,544.43, and the Euronext 100 slipped 0.58% to 1,055.11.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report, the retail sales report, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the productivity and costs report, the industrial production report, the Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations report, the business inventories report, the housing market index, the EIA petroleum status report and the treasury international capital report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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