WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is prepared to deploy as many as 15,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in anticipation of a caravan of Central American migrants, sharply increasing the number the administration had signaled earlier in the week.

“They are not coming in our country,” Trump told reporters before departing for Florida and a political rally.

Earlier in the day, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis defended the deployment of thousands of troops to the border and rejected criticisms that the U.S. military’s operation was motivated by midterm politics, saying: “We don’t do stunts.”

The military mission at the border, dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot, marks the largest single deployment of U.S. troops in the defense chief’s nearly two-year tenure. Since the Pentagon first suggested troops would head to the border late last week, Mattis has come under increased criticism from observers and retired military officers who they say he is allowing the White House to politicize troop deployments.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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Happy Wednesday, MarketWatchers! Here are today’s top personal finance stories.

Is Halloween a good time to invest in stocks? One study looking back 300 years say yes

‘The 62,962 monthly observations over 323 years show a strong Halloween effect.’

My dad didn’t love me! He only left me $10,000

After taking care of his father on his death bed, this son was passed over.

Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology

In tumultuous political times, the 18-30 demographic is reaching for the stars.

Here’s what scares people most about their finances

Americans are plagued by one financial fear that has nothing do with the volatile stock market.

A lot of really bad things are more likely to happen on Halloween

Oct. 31 may be one of the most perilous days of the year for your children, home, car and health.

Seriously, here’s a simple way to beat a bear market

How many people stayed 100% in equities through the last two crashes?

Here’s an ominous sign that another recession is looming

‘Cash is considered a four-letter word on Wall Street, figuratively as well as literally.’

Halloween is changing before our very eyes

Ever heard of trunk-or-treat? How about Halloween on a hiking trail? Or the move to divorce Halloween from its traditional Oct. 31 calendar position.

FDA to unveil plan to halt the ‘health tragedy’ of teen e-cigarette use in November

Teens are 16 times more likely to use JUUL e-cigarettes than adults.

What Trump’s proposed birthright citizenship order could do to the children of immigrants

As many as 24 million people could lose their legal status in the U.S. by 2050 if the 14th Amendment is repealed.

Elsewhere on MarketWatch
Khashoggi was strangled when he entered Saudi consulate, Turkish prosecutor says

U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled the minute he stepped inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and his body was then hacked to bits and secretly disposed of, a top Turkish prosecutor said Wednesday.

Don’t worry: We aren’t going to run out of workers

Strong job growth for 96 months has spawned misplaced concern that at some point the economy will run out of workers to fill jobs.

The housing market’s slowdown is going to kill the home renovation boom too

As home-price growth cools and would-be buyers retreat, home renovations — once a solution for the lopsided supply situation — are likely to slow as well.

These workers are getting the biggest pay raises. Find out if you are among them

For the first time in years, labor shortages are forcing companies to offer better pay and benefits to hold on to veteran employees or to fill open jobs.

CEOs at Trump event have given $64,000 to Republicans

The White House has planned a “Pledge to America’s Workers” event for Wednesday afternoon, with media reports noting President Donald Trump will appear with seven CEOs. Three of those CEOs have made sizable donations to Republican groups.

Why emerging markets haven’t really recovered since the summer selloff

Months after the summer selloff, with only two months left in the year, emerging markets currencies are still struggling with idiosyncratic economic and political issues, as well as worries about global growth.

When a stock is delisted do you lose everything? Likely yes, says SEC

Investors in highfliers like IGC finding out the hard way: If there’s no exchange to trade a hot stock, the shares may be now be worthless

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There are five types of stock-market bounces out there, according to Charlie Bilello of Pension Partners. If you can tell the good ones from the bad, well, you’re probably too busy counting profits to read this story. But if you can’t — and, be real, you probably can’t — this guide might help.

First off, let’s assess just how ugly it’s gotten out there.

To start the week, the stock market had coughed up all its gains for the year, and, according to Bilello, we’re looking at “oversold extreme” conditions. He pointed out that 11% of stocks on the S&P

SPX, +1.09%

are trading above their 50-day moving average, which is more “oversold” than 97% of historical readings.

Enter the Trump-pleasing bounce:

Stock Market up more than 400 points yesterday. Today looks to be another good one. Companies earnings are great!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018

The buying spilled over into Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +0.97%

and S&P both rallying about 1%. The Nasdaq

COMP, +2.01%

 fared even better with a 2% jump.

But is this oversold reading a good thing for the longer term?

“Stocks tend to bounce, with above-average forward returns in most periods with a higher probability of a positive return than your typical trading day,” Bilello said.

When this extreme reading has been breached previously, stocks have gained an average of 22.7% over the subsequent year, with positive returns 93% of the time. That’s compared with a gain of 9.9% and 84% positive in other periods.

So what kind of bounce is this? Bilello tackles the possibilities:

The last hurrah

Bulls are hoping that this isn’t the one. The textbook example of this took place in 2007, when the August low turned into a 15% bounce for the S&P that took the index back to record highs in October. Stocks didn’t hit another high again until 2013, suffering a nasty 57% bruising along the way.

The dead cat

The bane of day traders everywhere — every one of them has endured a dead-cat misfire at some point. Bilello pointed, as an example, to January 2008, when the S&P dropped to “oversold extreme” levels and bounced 13% from its early-year low to a May high, “fooling many into believing that the cat who bounced after hitting the ground was alive and well.” Less than a year later, and the broad market gauge had lost more than half its value.

The falling knife

This one is no walk in the park, either. The idea here, of course, is that trying to time a market rebound can be brutal. “What they never tell you is how to differentiate between a falling knife and one that has already hit the ground,” Bilello wrote. He used an example from Sept. 29, 2008, when the S&P was at “oversold extreme” and was down 30% from its October 2007 high. Worst must be over, right? It fell another 32% over the next two months amid daily “oversold extreme” readings.

The holy grail

Sorry, guys, but this one’s off the table. These are those wonderful gifts that arrive at the end of bear markets and enrich those savvy — or lucky — enough to get in on the upside action. “In March 2009, we saw a series of these extremes,” Bilello said, “after which the market never looked back.”


Anybody who’s paid any attention to the market action over the past decade knows all about the “buy the f—ing dip” approach. It’s been one of the most effective strategies during this bull market, where nearly every decline has been met with an immediate return to new highs. Until now.

So which one does Bilello believe we should expect from here?

“The best we can say is that extreme oversold conditions tend to lead to above-average forward returns with a higher probability of a positive outcome than other periods,” he wrote. “But these are just probabilities — there are many, many exceptions. Will the current reading fall into the ‘tend to’ category or the ‘exception’ category?”

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Sometimes, CNBC’s Jim Cramer wishes FANG, the acronym he uses to talk about the stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, now Alphabet, had never been created.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I rue the day we created this silly thing,” the “Mad Money” host said one day after Facebook’s third-quarter earnings report. “Now, there are 10 FANG ETFs that link them all together. Shameless.”

The social media giant’s mixed results sent the other FANG stocks on a roller-coaster ride as the exchange-traded funds that package them all together forced them to trade “practically in lockstep” with shares of Facebook, Cramer said.

“It’s the power of the ETFs. When one FANG stock gets wrecked, they all get whacked. When one rallies, they all rally, as we saw today, with Facebook ultimately gaining 4 percent and the rest of FANG following suit,” he said.

Calling this kind of action “monumentally stupid,” Cramer stressed how different each FANG company is from the others, adding that “it’s a mistake to write them off” because of their distinct prospects and massive end markets.

“Sure, they each have some sort of overlap, but you know, really, what they have in common? The fact that … they used to spell the word FANG, which is why we on ‘Mad Money’ coined the … acronym five years ago,” he said.

Even so, “FANG is by no means out of the woods” because of the weight these FANG-laden ETFs carry, the “Mad Money” host warned. He noted that many of them include the stock of Apple, and that any weakness in the iPhone maker’s Thursday earnings report could bring trouble.

“It’s entirely possible Apple talks about a Chinese slowdown. They might even have a miss in service revenue,” he said. “Unlike the core FANG names, Apple’s stock is barely down from its highs. So get ready for more short-term volatility, which, of course, is code for vicious, exaggerated declines by ETFs.”

And while FANG’s stock charts “remain terrible” and each company, especially Facebook, still faces challenges, Cramer wasn’t comfortable writing them off entirely because of momentary, market-driven and possibly mechanical pain.

“The bottom line here is that there’s a reason these four companies have been able to disrupt entire industries over and over again, and that reason is the fundamentals,” he said. “Even when the FANGs screw up, they’re still incredible companies.”

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Apple.

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If the Fed hikes rates in December and again in 2019 or if there is minimal progress in China-US relations, the market will go down, Julian Emanuel, BTIG’s chief equity strategist, said on CNBC on Wednesday.

“We have to go back to the two 800-pound gorillas in the room that are going to be with us probably for months,” Emanuel said on CNBC’s “Fast Money.”

“No. 1: trade. You have to have some progress in China. If you don’t have progress there, 2019 could be a challenge.”

“The other thing is the Fed. … We think the Fed is on the cusp of making a policy mistake. We’d like to see them at minimum if they’re going to hike in December, think about signaling a dove-ish hike because [of] the risks of an escalating trade war.”

He said the positive forces in the market now are enough to bring the S&P 500 to 3,000 points. On Wednesday, the S&P closed at 2,711.74 points, up slightly more than 1 percent.

Leadership is “going to have to come from the more value-oriented sectors and stocks,” Emanuel said. “The industrials, the banks, energy, all of these things that … have worked on the short side this year, are really where the profits of short-side traders lie.”

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Following in the path of the tech-savvy Domino’s Pizza, fast-casual chain Wingstop is turning its focus to digital as customers become increasingly familiar with its web-based platforms, Wingstop CEO Charlie Morrison told CNBC on Wednesday.

“Today, … 25 percent of our revenue comes from digital,” Morrison said in an exclusive interview with “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer.

With Wingstop’s plans to launch delivery across its restaurant base, build its own customer-facing website and mobile app, and start using natural voice recognition to streamline ordering, that percentage could soon grow, the CEO said.

“What we see is the opportunity to digitize every transaction in Wingstop, no matter if you call, if you come in or you use our web applications,” Morrison told Cramer. “We think we have that opportunity well into the future.”

Wingstop, which partners with DoorDash on delivery, has been testing its ordering-and-delivery systems for over a year and plans to launch in Los Angeles in November, followed by a roll-out in Houston.

“Through 2019, we’re going to continue to advance delivery to about 80 percent of our restaurant base by the end of the year,” Morrison said.

Wingstop has been growing same-store sales, a key metric for restaurants and retailers, for 14 consecutive years. The company just opened its first restaurant in London, marking the wing chain’s tenth country in its international expansion.

“We’re going to continue to add two to three countries every other year, build that foundation with solid infrastructure behind it so that we can continue to grow a long time into the future,” the CEO told Cramer.

Wingstop’s stock closed 0.06 percent lower on Wednesday at $62.62 a share. Since the company went public in 2015, it has generated shareholder returns of over 200 percent.

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Don’t get too distracted by the flashing lights when making a big decision.

Lights and exciting jingles at a casino can encourage a gambler to make risky choices, according to a study published this week in The Journal of Neuroscience, a peer-reviewed journal. Such stimulating features can promote problem behavior, researchers from the University of British Columbia found.

One hundred adults played laboratory gambling games outfitted with “bells and whistles” like the ones that signal winning on slot machines. Researchers found that these sensory cues can stimulate negative behavior — like continuing to play a game even when the risk of losing was high.

“We found that an individual’s choices were less guided by the odds of winning when the casino-like audiovisual features were present in our laboratory gambling game,” said Mariya Cherkasova, University of British Columbia postdoctoral research fellow and the study’s lead author. “Overall, people took more risks when playing the more casino-like games, regardless of the odds.”

Eye-tracker technology used by researchers showed gamblers paid less attention to the actual odds of winning when they were distracted by pictures of money and musical beeps and tones. The gamblers’ pupils dilated more widely when they were tempted with these sensory stimulants, suggesting they were aroused by them. Without the bells and whistles, gamblers showed more restraint.

“Together, these results provide new insight into the role played by audiovisual cues in promoting risky choice and could, in part, explain why some people persist in gambling despite unfavorable odds of winning,” Cherkasova said.

Slot machines’ exuberant lights and music can lead players into thinking they’ve won, when actually they’ve lost. But when players are educated about how the machines mislead them, they’re less susceptible to being tricked, a previous study found.

Retailers also use tricks to get people so spend money

A similar phenomenon sometimes plays out in stores. Music is used to either keep people moving briskly through the store or to slow them down, depending on how busy they are, according to an analysis of big supermarkets by Casino.org. (They use other tricks too, like providing no free shelf space at the checkout, leaving no room to dump unwanted items.)

Our sense of smell also helps companies get us to part with our hard-earned money. A whoosh of warm air, a soft carpet, perfumed air and pleasant music make many shoppers feel at home, but new research has a theory why certain scents encourage people to open their wallets.

The research, “The Cool Scent of Power: Effects of Ambient Scent on Consumer Preferences and Choice Behavior,” published in the January 2014 Journal of Marketing, carried out three laboratory and two store-based experiments. The researchers demonstrated that people spend more when they are in an environment with “warm scents” such as vanilla or cinnamon (as opposed to “cool scents” such as peppermint).

Some gamblers have bigger problems than flashing lights

Gambling addiction is a complicated problem, however, and flashing lights are not exclusively to blame, said Christine Reilly, senior research director at the National Center for Responsible Gaming, a nonprofit funded by in part by casinos that’s dedicated to scientific research into gambling disorders and their prevention.

“It’s not just automatic that when lights and sounds turn on someone becomes a gambling addict,” she said. “It may aggravate the conditions for some people but you have to remember most people who have the disorder have other economic, social, and mental health problems.”

Gambling rewires the brain in a similar fashion to addictive drugs, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which classified pathological gambling as an impulse-control disorder.

Like hard drugs, gambling causes the brain to release the chemical messenger dopamine, which gives humans a wave of satisfaction and happiness. Eventually the brain, exposed to frequent dopamine-stimulating chemicals, evolves to emit less dopamine on its own.

The drug addict slowly builds up a tolerance to the habit, needing more and more of the dopamine-stimulating substance to feel high. Gambling works in a similar way, according to the 2012 book “Addiction by Design,” by MIT professor Natasha Schull.

“What you have to remember is people get into trouble with all kinds of games, not just casinos,” Reilly said.

(Quentin Fottrell also contributed to this story.)

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During wild stock-market swings, financial advisers brace for turbulence. They anticipate frantic calls from agitated clients. Amid steep downturns, advisers often focus on a client’s long-term goals, champion a stay-the-course strategy, and provide historical perspective.

All of this still may not relax a panicky investor. Regardless of how well advisers train clients to treat severe declines as a byproduct of risk, market swoons still sting.

Perhaps the most common response to jittery clients is also the worst: urging them to calm down. Telling a distressed person to cool it almost guarantees they won’t.

Savvy advisers dig deeper to manage client emotions. They put principles of psychology to work to tamp down irrational thoughts before those worries spiral out of control. They listen more than talk, and ask questions before trying to explain.

“When people are highly emotional, they don’t respond to linear information like charts and graphs,” said Dennis Nolte, a certified financial planner in Winter Park, Fla. “They want to be heard and understood before the numbers mean anything.”

A former therapist, Nolte knows that clients under stress need more than a lesson in risk tolerance and a lecture on sticking to the plan. What they really crave, he says, is human connection.

Listening patiently without interruption dignifies their concerns. Asking earnest questions (“Can you tell me more about that?”) indicates your eagerness to learn. And by sharing in their anxiety, you show that you’re in the same boat.

“Empathy certainly helps with bonding,” Nolte said. “Saying, ‘We’re all going through this together’ tends to relax them. They see they’re not alone, that we’re in tandem.”

As a therapist, Nolte learned not to discuss his personal experience with patients. When he switched to financial planning, he says he was taught to “never show a client your portfolio.”

In his three decades as an adviser, Nolte has found that it’s okay to open up with clients as long as he’s established a well-rounded relationship with them. He adds that by matching his voice to their pitch, tempo and intonation, he can solidify his bond while exuding calm.

“Vocal modulation helps your clients know you are in a similar space as they are,” he said. But if they’re speaking too loudly and rapidly, it’s better to dial down your volume and slow your rate of speech rather than follow their frenzied lead.

A soothing voice is only part of a response. Choosing the right words adds another layer of calm.

Monica Dwyer, a certified financial planner in West Chester, Ohio, says she learned early in her career that top advisers “never use language that would alarm a client.” Rather than fret, “I’m really disturbed by this awful market,” for example, you can say, “Put in a larger context, what’s happening today is normal.”

Sitting upright and maintaining friendly eye contact goes a long way toward restoring calm.

She estimates that about half of her client communication occurs over the phone. For the other half — face-to-face conversation — she pays attention to her nonverbal cues. She notes that sitting upright and maintaining friendly eye contact goes a long way toward restoring calm.

Your office environment plays a role in helping nervous clients get a grip. Many advisers set the stage by creating a cozy meeting space that’s homey and free of distractions (like news blaring from a television or a giant computer screen with a heat map of stocks).

Most of all, guiding an upset client to regain peace of mind requires a willingness to listen without judgment and an ability to ask questions to confirm their goals haven’t changed. Once you do that, you’re well-positioned to offer wisdom and urge perseverance.

“When clients call me in a panic, it’s important to shut up and listen,” Dwyer said. “I’ve literally sat on my hands because I talk with my hands. Afterward, they’ve confessed, ‘Oh, I just wanted you to tell me it’s all going to be okay. I wanted you to talk me through it.’”

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Altaira Wealth

Ralph Acampora is bearish on stocks

Prominent market technician Ralph Acampora says the stock market is in bad shape and it’s worse than many on Wall Street investors appreciate.

A pioneer in the field of chart-based trading, Acampora said the technical damage that has resulted in the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +1.77%

and the S&P 500 index

SPX, +1.57%

erasing all of their gains for 2018, and the Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, +1.58%

falling into correction territory—usually characterized as a decline of at least 10% from a recent peak—will take months to repair.

Check out: Stocks could rally 20% after this bruising rout, says Guggenheim’s Minerd—after that, watch out

“From a technical perspective, the damage that has been done technically to the stock market is much, much worse than people are talking about,” he told MarketWatch in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Acampora cited a break down of so-called FANG stocks—a quartet of technology and internet-related companies that include Facebook Inc.

FB, +2.91%

Amazon.com Inc.

AMZN, -0.55%

Netflix Inc.

NFLX, +0.34%

and Google-parent Alphabet Inc.

GOOGL, +1.43%

—as the clearest sign that the worm has turned on the bull market.

On Monday, those names, which have been significant catalysts for market sentiment and price moves, shed a combined $120 billion in market value. On top of that, Amazon became the most recent of that group to close in bear-market territory, defined as drop of at least 20% from a recent peak.

“I’ve been a bull for a long, long time and like everyone, I was waiting for a correction but this is something different,” said Acampora, who many chartists refer to as the “godfather” of technical analysis.

“All the leadership is getting crushed,” he said.

Acampora said he believed that the entire stock market itself would go into a bear market and said the current dynamic in the market was eerily similar to the stock-market crash of 1987, when the Dow slide a historic 22.6% in a single day on Oct. 19 of that year.

“Honestly, I don’t see the low being put in yet and I think we’re going to go into a bear market,” he said. He speculates that the market may not be healed until around the first quarter of 2019.

On Tuesday, the Dow rose 431.72 points, or 1.8%, to 24,874.64; the S&P 500 gained 41.38 points, or 1.6%, to 2,682.63; and the Nasdaq climbed 111.36 points, or 1.6%, to 7,161.65.

The Dow would have to fall another 3,162 points, or about 13%, from current levels to close 20% below its Oct. 3 record close of 26,828.39, as of Tuesday late-afternoon trade.

When reached on the phone, the market technician said he was painting his barn to avoid “the agony of watching” the market’s gyrations. “I don’t want to watch the market get sloppy again, so I figured that I’m better off painting.”

Acampora isn’t alone in his bearish view. Michael Wilson, Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. equity strategist, said he believes the market is undergoing a “rolling bear market.” He was among the first to spot fractures in the market’s uptrend.

To be sure, other analysts believe the market is returning to normal and has just entered a more volatile phase due to interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve, which has lifted borrowing costs for corporations and individuals and prompted a broad reassessment of stock values. That factor among myriad others has rattled investors’ sentiment.

Also read: Federal Reserve minutes indicate interest rates will have to rise high enough to slow down the economy.

Tom McClellan, publisher of the McClellan Market Report and another high-profile chart technician, told MarketWatch that the current action is more a function of seasonal volatility associated with October and not a more significant upending of a 10-year bull market. He viewed stocks as oversold and says he remains bullish on the stock-market outlook.

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Ford and Chinese internet giant Baidu announced a tie-up Wednesday that will see the two firms jointly test self-driving vehicles in China for two years.

The initiative will see the two companies collaborate on the development and testing of driverless vehicles that meet the Level 4 standard set by U.S. industry organization SAE International. This means that autonomous vehicles developed by the two will not require intervention from a human driver.

Ford and Baidu did not disclose any financial terms or ownership structure details of the venture.

“Working with a leading tech partner like Baidu allows us to leverage new opportunities in China to offer innovative solutions that improve safety, convenience and the overall mobility experience,” Sherif Marakby, president and CEO of Ford’s autonomous vehicles unit, said in a statement Wednesday.

“This project marks a new milestone in the partnership between Ford and Baidu, and supports Ford’s vision to design smart vehicles that transform how we get around.”

Ford’s autonomous vehicles have already been fitted with Baidu’s autonomous driving system Apollo, the two companies said in a joint statement. On-road testing of the driverless vehicles developed by Ford and Baidu is slated to start by the end of this year.

“Baidu and Ford both believe in using technology to redefine the future of mobility,” Zhenyu Li, vice president and general manager of Baidu’s intelligent driving group, said in a statement.

“This project will combine our leading-edge technological know-how and understanding of China together with Ford’s vehicle expertise, marking a significant step forward towards Baidu’s goal of developing autonomous driving vehicles that will greatly benefit future consumers.”

The news follows an initial announcement made in June that the two companies would explore areas of cooperation in the fields of artificial intelligence and connectivity.

Baidu was recently added to the Partnership on AI (PAI), a U.S. ethics body devoted to establishing best practices for AI and educating society about the technology. It was the first Chinese firm to join the organization.

It has upped the competitive pressure on U.S. rivals that are ploughing significant money and resources into AI — including Google and Microsoft — and recently developed a tool which it says can translate different languages in real time.

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