Afternoon Coffee: IBM Patents Idea to Pass Packages Between Drones, The World Catches Cobalt Fever

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IBM has been looking for new lines of business to support future growth for a while now, and a recently submitted patent may just offer that. As Mashable reports, IBM Research announced a patent Wednesday that details how delivery drones could pass off packages to one another mid-flight to create a relay system, extending a supply chain's reach farther than the range of a single drone.   

Cobalt is Hot

2016 was about lithium. 2017 is all about cobalt. The price per ton for the metal, which is a component of lithium-ion batteries, has soared nearly 70% this year, Quartz writes. The steady popularity of Apple’s mobile products and an increasing interest in electric cars is driving concerns about cobalt scarcity, as the market for the metal is comparatively quite small.

Vale Profit Surges

In other commodities news, Brazilian mining giant Vale reported its biggest net profit in three years Thursday, the Wall Street Journal writes. A resurgence in iron ore prices boosted Vale, which is hoping to prove to analysts it is on track in a turnaround effort.   

Durable Goods

And finally, an economic update: Durable goods orders missed forecasts in March, with demand for automobiles, fabricated-metal products and machinery all declining, Bloomberg reports. While the sapped some of the momentum from an optimistic first quarter, economists still see reasons for businesses to remain optimistic heading into the summer.  

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