Walmart buys 59M shares in Symbotic

Walmart Inc. has bought nearly 59 million shares in Symbotic, which makes the robots used in its regional distribution centers, according to a government filing released Tuesday.

The purchase gives Walmart an 11% stake in the artificial intelligence logistics firm, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Walmart said it started testing the technology in 2017 at a regional distribution center in Florida, and put them to work in 25 distribution centers last year. Then in May, the Bentonville-based retailer said it was bringing them to all 42 of its regional warehouses.

But retrofitting the facilities to accommodate the robots will take at least eight years, Walmart said.

The autonomous devices sort, store, retrieve and pack freight onto pallets for shipment. Walmart said they improve speed, accuracy and safety; help eliminate out-of-stocks; and make unloading trucks faster and easier for store employees.

Their use also creates tech-enabled jobs that give workers a chance to learn widely applicable skills in robotics and technology, Walmart said.

— Serenah McKay

Face-scanning being tried at DFW airport

FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines said Wednesday that customers with PreCheck can go through security checkpoints at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with a face scan and phone app instead of showing their driver’s license or passport.

The airline said that it intends to expand the test, which started Wednesday, to airports in Miami, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere later this year.

American is portraying the service as a convenience factor that will help passengers get through security checkpoints more quickly. Privacy experts have expressed concern about personal information that people volunteer for a convenience benefit, and how that information is used and stored.

At DFW, passengers will need PreCheck, the expedited-screening service sold by the Transportation Security Administration, and an American Airlines mobile app for the facial-recognition technology.

— The Associated Press

Arkansas Index ends down 11.84 on rally

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Thursday at 712.47, down 11.84.

“Equities fell in early trading but recovered to close relatively unchanged after congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterating the central bank’s commitment “to bringing inflation back down” as the real estate and health care sectors outperformed,” said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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