Stock Market News: Tesla Hits the Brakes; Will Starbucks Be a Trade-War Casualty? – Motley Fool

Friday morning was volatile for the stock market, which moved between negative and positive territory several times. The sentiment battle between strong U.S. economic prospects and the threat of a prolonged trade conflict with China whipsawed investors from one extreme to the other. As of 11:45 a.m. EDT, bearish investors were in the ascendancy, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) down 5 points to 25,858. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gave up 4 points to 2,873, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) lost 30 points to 7,868.

Two major companies in the U.S. face very different challenges, but each will have to figure out the best way to move forward and preserve its opportunities for long-term growth. For Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), details about a fatal crash and moves to tighten cost controls in order to reduce the size of recent losses are just the latest in the electric-vehicle specialist’s long saga of trying to overcome adversity. At the same time, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has a key competitor in China making news today, and negative attitudes among Chinese consumers due to trade disputes could well give the up-and-comer an advantage over the Seattle-based coffee giant.

A bumpy road ahead for Tesla

Shares of Tesla fell 4% in the wake of several pieces of bad news for the electric-vehicle maker. The one drawing the most attention from investors involved a report from the National Transportation Safety Board that found that the company’s Autopilot driver-assistance system was active when a Tesla Model 3 crashed in Florida, killing its driver.

Image source: Tesla.

According to the NTSB report, the vehicle was driving well above the posted speed limit and failed to stop despite having advanced driver assistance features engaged, including automatic emergency braking. As a result, the vehicle collided with a semitractor-trailer truck that was crossing the

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