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Financial & Business News

Last Update on September 23, 2014 17:33 GMT

OVERSEAS TAX BREAKS-COMPANIES

NEW YORK (AP) -- A handful of companies pursuing overseas deals that could lower their tax rates are under pressure after the U.S. unveiled rules that would make those deals less lucrative.

The Treasury Department announced new regulations yesterday that would make it less lucrative to pursue a so-called inversion. Under such a deal, an American company buys a foreign firm, then re-incorporates overseas.

The pharmaceutical company AbbVie, based in Chicago, reached an agreement to buy Dublin-based Shire in July for $54 billion. Shares of both companies sank in Tuesday trading. AbbVie lost 2 percent in New York trading, while Shire sank 2 percent in London.

Among other companies getting hit in Tuesday trading, Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc., which plans to buy Dublin-based Covidien Plc., fell 4 percent. Covidien lost 3 percent. The British drugmaker AstraZeneca, still considered a likely takeover candidate after it successfully rebuffed overtures from Pfizer Inc. earlier this year, slumped 3 percent.

WORLD TRADE

BERLIN (AP) -- The World Trade Organization has sharply reduced its forecast for global trade growth this year, pointing to uneven economic growth in countries including China and the U.S.

The WTO said Tuesday that its economists are now predicting 3.1 percent growth in world trade this year, down from the 4.7 percent forecast in April. They also cut their outlook for 2015 to 4 percent from the previous 5.3 percent.

The Geneva-based body said global trade stagnated in the first six months of this year as a gradual recovery in demand for imports in developed countries was offset by declines in developing countries.

Its director-general, Roberto Azevedo, said that "uneven growth and continuing geopolitical tensions will remain a risk for both trade and output in the second half of the year."

EUROPE-ECONOMY

LONDON (AP) -- Further evidence has emerged to show that the economic momentum across the 18-country eurozone is petering out.

In its monthly survey, financial information company Markit says its purchasing managers' index for the eurozone -- a gauge of business activity -- fell to a nine-month low of 52.3 in September from the previous month's 52.5.

Though anything above 50 indicates expansion, the survey found that France remains a laggard.

It also suggested that growth may slow further in the fourth quarter as new manufacturing orders fell for the first time in 15 months.

Markit's chief economist, Chris Williamson, says the danger is that the European Central Bank's recent efforts to stimulate the eurozone economy will "prove ineffective in the face of such headwinds."

GREECE-BAILOUT

BERLIN (AP) -- Greece's prime minister says his country isn't seeking another international financial rescue and has indicated that a new economic reform plan is coming soon.

Since 2010, Greece has relied on two bailout packages totaling 240 billion euros ($308 billion). Payments from eurozone partners are due to end this year while those from the International Monetary Fund conclude in 2016.

After meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said "Greece can now stand on its own two feet and ... we believe we do not require a new support package."

Samaras added that Greece will soon propose "its own framework to continue reforms in the years to come, beyond the timetable of the (bailout) agreements."

Germany has been the single biggest contributor to Greece's bailouts.

CLIMATE SUMMIT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- World leaders are promising billions of dollars to take better care of planet Earth at a United Nations summit on climate changes.

The non-binding pledges are coming in response to a challenge from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. At the opening of the one-day summit, Ban said the world needs to set a new course for a warming globe and reverse the rise of heat-trapping gases.

By mid-morning, world leaders had made pledges of at least $5 billion to help the world become more sustainable. And the European Union offered a rare proposal -- specific targets beyond 2020.

The EU says its member nations will cut greenhouse gases so that by 2030 they would be 40 percent below the 1990 level. The vow also calls for using renewable energy for 27 percent of the bloc's power needs and to increase energy efficiency by 30 percent.

BRAZIL-DEFORESTATION

NEW YORK (AP) -- More than 30 countries are setting the first-ever deadline to halt deforestation by 2030 to curb global warming.

The United States, Canada and the entire European Union were among 32 countries signing on to a declaration to halve forest loss by 2020 and stop it by 2030 at the U.N. climate summit Tuesday.

But the enthusiasm for the pledge was tempered when Brazil, home to wide swaths of Amazon rainforest, said it would not join.

If the goal is met, the U.N. says it would be the equivalent of taking every car off the road in the world. The group also pledged to restore more than one million square miles of forest worldwide by 2030. Norway vowed to spend $350 million to protect forests in Peru and another $100 million in Liberia.



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