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Morning Agenda: Uber Investor Sues Ex-CEO Travis Kalanick


The litigation is focused on how Mr. Kalanick gained control of several Uber board seats in 2016. Benchmark asserts that he did so through “material misstatements and fraudulent concealment” of information and his “overarching objective is to pack Uber’s board with loyal allies in an effort to insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny and clear the path for his eventual return as C.E.O. — all to the detriment of Uber’s stockholders, employees, driver-partners, and customers.”

The lawsuit says Mr. Kalanick deliberately hid problems at Uber and fraudulently obtained the right to select three new board seats when the board expanded to 11 directors in 2016.

After he stepped down, Mr. Kalanick left the board seat designated for the chief executive, but immediately reappointed himself to one of the three seats he controlled, the lawsuit asserts. He has since refused to give up control of the other two board seats, according to the lawsuit.

A spokesman for Mr. Kalanick said, “The lawsuit is completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.” The spokesman said Benchmark was acting in “its own best interests” instead of in those of Uber, and added that Mr. Kalanick “is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected.”

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‘Fear Gauge’ Surges as North Korea Tensions Rise

The war of words between the United States and North Korea appears to have unnerved investors.

An index known as Wall Street’s “fear gauge” surged from historically low levels on Thursday as markets declined.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, known as VIX, measures investor expectations that stocks will experience sharp moves in the future. It rose 44 percent to end the day at 16.04 on Thursday, its highest close since Election Day in November.

The VIX stayed in single-digit territory for many weeks this year, unusual for an index that had long traded around 20.

“So the question is: How much more volatility do we need to see before funds start to disgorge assets mechanically?” asked Julian Brigden of Macro Intelligence 2 Partners, an independent research company based in Vail, Colo.

Macy’s Shares Hit Hard by Spooked Investors

Investors punished Macy’s shares on Thursday as the department store chain reported another quarter of declining sales.

The company, which has become a bellwether for the struggling retail industry, saw its shares fall more than 10 percent as investors worried about traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

The rise in e-commerce has hurt Macy’s and other traditional retailers. As a result, Macy’s has closed stores, invested in its own online efforts and cut prices.

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• Never a ratings winner, the BBC America science-fiction drama “Orphan Black” has a fiercely devoted group of fans in its #CloneClub.

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