Former Apple CEO John Sculley debuts new smartphone

john sculley obi worldphone
John Sculley’s Obi Worldphone will begin selling two new Android smartphones in October — the SF1 (left) and the SJ1.5.

John Sculley didn’t last at Apple long enough to see the iMac, let alone the iPhone. But now he’s launching a beautiful new smartphone of his own.

Obi Worldphone, a company Sculley co-founded, will start selling two new Android smartphones in October. They look sleek and stylish, particularly for ultra-cheap smartphones.

Sculley was criticized by Steve Jobs and others as a sales-focused Apple (AAPL, Tech30) executive who had little technical or engineering know-how.

Though it’s an oversimplification, the idea is that Jobs was solely focused on making Apple’s products beautiful and user-friendly, while Sculley was exclusively focused on maximizing Apple’s profit.

So it’s more than a little ironic that Sculley’s mission is now to deliver gorgeously designed, low-cost smartphones.

obi wordphone sf1

The Obi SF1 costs $200 and has some high-end bells and whistles. It’s plastic with metallic accents, curved edges, a five-inch HD screen, 13 megapixel camera, a huge battery with turbo-charging and a zippy processor.

The “signature design” of the SF1 is its “floating display.” It looks as if the screen were tacked onto the phone’s body. It’s an interesting look.

obi worldphone sj1.5

The $129 Obi SJ1.5 is all plastic in a

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World is still hooked on cheap money

cheap money
Central bankers are swooping to the rescue of shaky economies, soothing investor panic for now but highlighting a global addiction to easy money.

Central bankers are swooping to the rescue of shaky economies, soothing investor panic for now but highlighting a global addiction to easy money.

China stepped in to shore up its flagging economy this week after a sharp stock plunge and fears about slowing growth triggered waves of selling across global markets. Authorities cut interest rates — for the fifth time in just nine months — and lowered the amount banks need to hold in reserve in a bid to boost borrowing.

China isn’t alone in its actions. Policymakers in countries that produce nearly half the output in the world’s $77 trillion economy are working to stimulate lending and spur growth.

Related: China contagion: How it ripples across the world

Central banks in Canada, India, Australia, and Norway have cut interest rates this year and most of those countries are expected to ease further. Rates in Switzerland have languished in negative territory since late last year. And policymakers in Europe and Japan are printing money as a tool to support growth.

The efforts illustrate cracks in the world economy. Five of the seven biggest economies are in cheap money mode, while the U.S. and the U.K. remain stuck in neutral — at least for now.

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Want to work for Google? What you search for could land you a job

google mysterious recruiting site
When you go to, this is what you see.

Max Rosett says Google recruited him after he searched for a specific set of programming questions.

Rosett was a former data scientist with a huge online housing directory, but knew he wanted to become a computer engineer.

While working on a project to help develop skills he would need in an engineering role, he Googled “python lambda function list comprehension.”

“The familiar blue links appeared,” Rosett wrote on The Hustle. “But then something unusual happened.”

His search results page began to split in half horizontally. A black box emerged with a message: “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?”

After Rosett clicked on “I want to play,” Google (GOOGL, Tech30) took him to a site called

“The page resembled a UNIX interface, so I typed the command to see the list of files,” he said. “There was a single one called “start_here.txt”. I opened it and saw two sentences: ‘Type request to request a challenge. Type help for a list of commands.'”

He typed “request,” and from there, Google gave him a series of programming problems to solve — each with a 48 hour time limit.

In total, Rosett worked through six challenges over the course of two weeks.

“After I solved the sixth problem, gave me the option

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Gap gets rid of ‘on call’ shifts

gap store
Gap workers will no longer have to be on-call when they’re not working.

Now Gap employees can relax, at least when they’re not at work.

The retailer said it will stop scheduling workers using so-called “on call shifts,” where employees are given very little advance notice of what hours they will be working.

Hourly workers are generally not paid while they’re on call, which requires them to be available for work at short notice. Gap did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether its workers are paid while on call.

On-call staffing helps retailers manage their staff so they have more workers when they’re busy and fewer when they aren’t. But such erratic schedules make it difficult for employees to manage things like child care or school schedules.

Gap (GPS) began phasing out the practice this summer and plans to stop it completely by the end of September.

It also said it will improve the scheduling process by giving workers 10 to 14 days notice as to when they’ll be working.

The company said this is part of an ongoing plan to “improve scheduling and flexibility for our employees, while continuing to drive productivity in stores.”

The decision came after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters in April to Gap and 12 other companies including Target (TGT), Williams Sonoma, and J.

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Apple Pay is coming to a food truck near you

apple pay lil burma
An employee at the Lil Burma food truck in San Francisco processes an Apple Pay smartwatch payment with the PayAnywhere device.

You can pay with a credit card at some unusual places these days: taco trucks, flea markets, baby sitters. Soon, smartphone and watch payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet will also work outside of traditional retailers too.

Starting in September, PayAnywhere will become the first mobile payments gadget in the U.S. to take Apple Pay. The $39.95 device will plug into iPhones and iPads so food stalls, contractors, galleries and other atypical businesses can accept payments via Apple Pay.

PayAnywhere, made by North American Bancard, is aligning itself closely with Apple (AAPL, Tech30). The dongle will only be available in the Apple Store and only work with iOS devices for now. In addition to Apple Pay, it will continue to accept credit card payments.

To demonstrate the new device, Apple’s Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, picked up the tab for some reporters’ lunches on Wednesday. Bailey waved her Apple Watch and an iPhone 6 in front of a PayAnywhere-equipped iPad at Lil Burma, a food truck in San Francisco.

Related: Former Apple CEO John Sculley debuts new smartphone

PayAnywhere is chunkier than the first generation of mobile card readers we’re used to seeing. It’s two inches by two inches and plugs into the audio jack

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5 technology stocks to buy at a discount

Trader Tim Seymour—who owns the stock—said he would stick with it. Alibaba makes an appealing play on its current valuation and projected growth, he added.

Read MoreApple stock flashes a warning signal

Big U.S. tech stocks, meanwhile, helped drive the rally. Netflix—which climbed 8 percent on the day—looks like a buy after a stark drop earlier this month, said trader Guy Adami.

“The market’s changed. Netflix hasn’t,” he said.

Meanwhile, Google and Facebook jumped 8 and 5 percent, respectively, on Wednesday. Priceline also climbed 4 percent.

Read MoreThe morning tech rally scares Mark Cuban

Trader Steve Grasso contended that all of those stocks look appealing, even after their surges.


Tim Seymour

Tim Seymour is long AAPL, T, BAC, DIS, F, GE, GM, GOOGL, INTC, JPM, Tim’s firm is long BABA, BIDU, MCD, NKE, NOK, SBUX, YHOO.

Steve Grasso

Grasso is long AAPL, BA, BAC, CC, DD, DIS, DECK, EVGN, FIT, KBH, MJNA, MU, PFE, PHM, T, TWTR, GDX. His kids are long EFA, EFG, EWJ, IJR, SPY. His firm and some of its partners are long DVN, BP, COP, CVX, FCX, NE, NEM, OXY, RIG, VALE

Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly is long BBRY, BTC=; TWTR call spread, U.S. Dollar; he is short Euro, Ruble, Yen, Yuan, US

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Here’s how markets move a day after being up 4%

On Wednesday, the SP 500 index was up 3.9 percent. So we wanted to see what happens the day after a move that large.

Since 1978 the SPX has seen a gain of 3.5-4.5 percent on 38 different occasions; Wednesday was the 39th time it happened.

In the previous 38 circumstances, the market was basically a coin flip the next day. Here are the stats:

+4.03% best day

-5.27% worst day

-0.10% mean day

-0.10% median day

19 positive days

19 negative days

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Revealed: The world’s cheapest emerging market

If there’s one good thing to come out of the emerging market rout, it’s cheaper valuations.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index‘s 11 percent retreat in local currency terms so far this month has pushed its 12-month forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio to 9.4 – a touch below its 5-year average of 10, according to Capital Economics.

The valuation gap between MSCI World Index – which tracks 23 developed markets – and MSCI Emerging Markets is now at its widest point since before the global financial crisis. The MSCI World Index is trading at a forward P/E ratio of 13.9. A higher P/E ratio implies that stocks are relatively pricey compared with earnings.

Read MoreWhy emerging market currencies are collapsing

“Emerging market equity valuations are no longer stretched either in an absolute or relative sense following the summer sell-off,” said John Higgins, chief markets economist at Capital Economics.

“Once the recent volatility in global markets settles down, we think that these valuations could rise, leading to some outperformance of EM equities in the months ahead,” he said.

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Nasdaq 100 is set to plunge 29%: Technician

Tech stocks had their best day since the financial crisis on Wednesday, leading markets on a major comeback. But according to one technician, these outperformers are about to see a severe pullback.

The SP 500 information technology sector rose more than 5 percent Wednesday, the most one-day gains for the sector since March 2009. The Nasdaq 100 index ETF (QQQ), which has 25 percent of its holdings in Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, also rose more than 5 percent.

However, Todd Gordon of said the QQQ was about to break through a major support line in its uptrend.

“We’re still very much in a consolidation that’s lasted most of the week. I do think ultimately we resolve to the downside,” Gordon said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Gordon said he saw the Nasdaq 100 going to 3,000, which would be a 29 percent drop from its closing price Wednesday. This would represent a roughly 50 percent “retracement” of its long rally higher. That is, Gordon expects the Nasdaq 100 to ultimately give back half of its six-plus-years’ gains.

“A 50 percent pullback is very common; it’s very much to be expected in the course of a straight uptrend,” Gordon said. “Markets just don’t go up forever. That’s just the reality we have to face.”

Read MoreAmid economic concerns, tech stocks gain favor

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Jim Paulsen: THIS is the root of the market swoon

While many investors are pegging the global markets’ recent plunge to wild swings in Chinese equities and the drop in oil prices, strategist Jim Paulsen said Thursday there’s a more fundamental reason.

“I think the drop had more to do with the vulnerabilities of the market,” Paulsen said in a CNBC “Squawk Box” interview. “We had market that was richly overpriced and investors getting too calm and complacent.”

The chief investment strategist for Wells Capital Management said China was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

China’s Shanghai composite closed more than 5 percent higher on Thursday, after sinking below its key 3,000 mark earlier this week. U.S. stock shot up in early trading Thursday, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average rallied more than 600 points for the first time since 2008, reversing multiple sessions of triple-digit losses.

Read MoreQ2 US GDP better than expected

The move has led many investors wondering whether or not the market has reached a bottom. Citi’s chief U.S. strategist, Tobias Levkovich, said it has.

“When you look at what’s going on in the market, it’s suggesting we’re finding this bottom,” he told “Squawk Box.”

“If you look at the 90-day implied volatility divided by the 30-day implied volatility, you are more than three standard deviations below average, going back to 2000.That has happened only 24 times in the last 15 years,” he said. “This means that you have

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