Big in Business: California after oil
Royal Dutch Shell and Toyota are teaming up to build seven hydrogen fueling stations in California, a move that will help move the state toward its goal of having 100 such outposts by 2020, Bloomberg reports. The move illustrates California's ability to influence the business decisions of multinational companies as well as the global energy and automobile industry's willingness to imagine a life after the internal combustion engine. Shell CFO Simon Henry said in November that global demand for oil could peak in as little as five years.
Driving while texting is costing us all: The Wall Street Journal reports that auto insurance profits have fallen and insurance premiums have risen as a result of smartphone-related distracted driving. Despite automobiles having become safer themselves through upgraded technology, auto insurance rates have risen more than 16% since 2011.
Rating the retail sector: Big name retailers like Walmart, Macy's and Home Depot all report earnings on Tuesday. Walmart has managed to boost same-store sales for nine quarters in a row, but investors will be watching to see if it can maintain its profitability amid heavy investment in labor and store operations. On the other hand, Home Depot stock recently reached all-time highs as the home-improvement retailer has leveraged an improving real estate market to higher profits.