EU blocks market mega-merger
CNNMoney reports that the European Union’s competition watchdog said Wednesday that it was blocking the deal between the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse. The European Commission said the deal “would have created a de facto monopoly” in an important part of the financial markets related to bonds and debt. Both the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse said that they regretted the decision, and stated that a rare opportunity to strengthen the global competitiveness of Europe’s financial markets had been missed.
Pending home sales jump
A monthly index of pending home sales surged 5.5 percent last month, 2.6 percent higher compared with a year ago. According to CNBC, that’s the second-fastest pace in more than a decade. Economists say that the large monthly gain was partly due to the warmest winter weather in several decades and the potential for higher interest rates later this year. The U.S. housing market has been suffering from a severe lack of homes for sale, and inventory at the start of this year was down to multi-year lows.
Robot pizza invasion
Domino’s will begin using robots to deliver pizzas in Europe, according to the Chicago Tribune. London-based Starship Technologies has created six-wheeled self-driving robots that will begin delivering pizzas in Germany and the Netherlands. The rollout will start off small, with deliveries within a one-mile radius of certain Domino’s pizza shops. The battery-powered robots are designed to operate autonomously on sidewalks, not roads, and have a maximum speed of four miles per hour.
Amazon’s fast-food strategy
Amazon is attempting to expand further into the mammoth grocery market by launching stores that will allow customers to pick up groceries from their car. This latest move takes a direct swipe at one of competitor Walmart’s last advantages. The online retail giant’s new service lets its users order groceries online and then pick them up as soon as 15 minutes afterward, far faster than the two- to four-hour window that other large retailers promise. Currently, the service is only available to Amazon employees in its two Seattle area stores, but will soon be offered to Amazon Prime members, reports Fox News.