Major U.S. equity indexes were mixed to flat for the day as investors awaited the potential impact on stock performance in several sectors stemming from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Some insurance and energy company stocks declined. U.S. airline traffic suffered delays.

Today, the Dow lost 5 points, with 16 of 30 components declining; the S&P 500 Index added 1 point; and the Nasdaq was 17 points higher. Decliners led advancers by 8 to 7 on the NYSE and decliners and advancers were about even on the Nasdaq. The prices of 10-year Treasuries strengthened while the prices of 30-year Treasuries weakened. Gold futures added $17.40 to close at $1,315.30 an ounce. The price of crude oil lost $1.30 to settle at $46.57 a barrel.

In business news:

  • Gilead Sciences Inc. will offer to pay about $11 billion or about $180 a share for Kite Pharma Inc. which is developing technology to harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer, according to reports. The offer price is a 29% premium over Kite’s closing price Friday. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Today, Gilead’s shares (GILD) were up 1.23% while Kite’s stock (KITE) price gained 27.99%.
  • Expedia Inc. Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi will be next CEO of Uber Technologies Inc., the privately-held ride sharing company. Khosrowshahi has held the Expedia role for more than a decade. Expedia’s shares (EXPE) lost 4.52%.
  • The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit for goods widened to $65.1 billion in July. Both exports and imports declined, but exports dropped at a faster pace. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected a goods trade deficit of $64.6 billion. Services are excluded from the early report. The government will release overall trade numbers, including services, for July next week.

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On the laundry front, the news is good. It is especially good if you dislike doing laundry.

In a December 8, 2016 report, we learned that appliance-maker Electrolux is developing a service following the Airbnb model that allows owners to rent out their laundry appliances to folks who are toting around dirty or wet laundry. We have learned that other advances are making laundry a more bearable task by avoiding it in whole or in part. For example:

  • Laundrapp, a British on-demand laundry application, lets users have their dirty clothes picked up, cleaned, and returned to them. While not available in the U.S. yet, the company already has launched its services in Australia and New Zealand and will license its technology in China and Mexico. In the U.K., Laundrapp has been downloaded 250,000 times, according to The Daily Telegraph. In many countries, large franchises dominate the business. Laundrapp targets these large service providers. The app works in a similar way to sharing economy services like Uber but, its laundry toters are employees of Laundrapp, rather than self-employed.
  • Perhaps more to the point is clothes that don’t need to be washed at all. In 2016, Levi’s Chief Executive Officer and President Chip Bergh suggested we should never wash a pair of jeans. The underlying point is that the denim material benefits from an extended wearing period before its first full washing. He explained that until that time, he “spot cleans” any stains with a toothbrush. Advice from several major jeans manufacturers is to instead try putting your pair in the freezer overnight to help get rid of bacteria. Alternatively give them some air by leaving them outside in the sun, or by using the type of neutralizer spray we use when the dog has an, er, accident.
  • For those clothes that still require, nay, demand, washing, how about washing machines that eliminate detergent? No more slippery cups filled with liquid soap or sneezing as the powdered detergent swirls in the air. The elimination of detergent also can benefit the environment. One approach cuts out the detergent and washes with a common chemical substance called dihydrogen monoxide. It breaks down the substance into hydroxol (OH-) and positively-charged hydrogen (H+) ions; OH- acts as the cleaning agent by attracting and retaining stains while the H+ ions sterilize the clothes.

Wherever laundry’s evolution leads, here’s hoping it all comes out in the wash.

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