Tesla’s ‘Battery Day’ Disappoints Wall Street: Live Updates

Credit…Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Shares of Tesla were down 5 percent in early trading on Wednesday morning, after the company announced that it still had a lot of work to do to in its efforts to make cheaper, more powerful batteries for electric cars.

The innovations could cut battery costs by more than 50 percent and nearly double the distance the vehicles can travel, which could set the set the stage for the company to make a $25,000 electric vehicle three years from now, Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive, said at a presentation on Tuesday at the company’s California factory.

But Mr. Musk, who has a reputation for promising game-changing innovations that often take far longer than expected to materialize, said many of the advances were still works in progress.

This announcement appeared to underwhelm investors, who were hoping that Mr. Musk would announce a major technical breakthrough, after the company had heightened expectations by calling the Tuesday event “Battery Day.” Tesla’s stock fell more than 5 percent on Tuesday before the event after Mr. Musk tried to temper expectations, writing on Twitter on Monday that the battery announcement would affect long-term production of Tesla’s vehicles.

The company is piloting production of batteries at its car factory in Fremont, Calif., and plans to build a cathode production plant somewhere in North America, Mr. Musk and Drew Baglino, senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering, said at the event.

Credit…Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Mars Food is changing the name of its Uncle Ben’s rice products to Ben’s Original, after widespread anti-racism protests renewed the focus on companies that for decades used racial images to sell their products.

The company said on Wednesday that it would also remove the image of an older Black man smiling from the box.

Mars committed to making changes to its branding in June, amid protests around the United States. The parent companies of Aunt Jemima, Cream of Wheat and Mrs. Butterworth’s also said at the time that they would retire or rebrand their products.

“We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand, and as we announced in June, we have committed to change,” said Fiona Dawson, global president of multisales and global customers for Mars Food.

This isn’t the first time that the brand has responded to such criticism. In 2007, Uncle Ben, whose face has appeared on the box of rice since the 1940s, was promoted from a servant to chairman in a marketing campaign.

The revamped packaging will hit store shelves in 2021.

Credit…Pool photo by Joshua Roberts

The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is set to testify before lawmakers on Wednesday morning, his second in a three-day run of appearances that are giving him a chance to explain what the Fed is doing to support the United States economy as the coronavirus crisis wears on.

With about 11 million Americans still out of work and coronavirus cases ticking up slightly, the Fed is facing a challenging and uncertain economic outlook as it tries try to guide the labor market back to full health.

Since the crisis took hold in early March, the Fed has gone to never-before-tried lengths to support lending and keep markets functioning, rolling out emergency programs focused on corporate bonds, municipal debt and even midsize business loans. Many of the efforts are backed by a $454 billion congressional appropriation to the Treasury Department, and they have had mixed success.

Big corporations have been issuing debt at breakneck speed, helped by the Fed’s promise to back up the market, even though its actual corporate bond buying has slowed to a trickle. But the programs aimed at municipal governments and smaller businesses have seen limited takeup, and lawmakers and oversight officials have questioned whether the Fed and Treasury are being generous enough in their design.

Mr. Powell is likely to again emphasize that Congress has an important role to play in helping hard-hit businesses, governments and households. Government support has helped to shore up spending and fuel a faster-than-anticipated recovery.

“A big part of the good economic news that we have had results from the fiscal support that came with the CARES Act,” Mr. Powell said Tuesday, crediting the stimulus package for fueling consumption and helping business…

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