From our wire services
World stocks shrugged off worries about political turmoil in Egypt and rallied strongly Thursday on optimism that easy monetary policy from central banks in Europe is set to continue for some time to come. U.S. markets were closed for Independence Day.
Oil price eases
The price of oil eased to less than $101 a barrel after jumping higher on unrest in Egypt and signs of rising demand in the U.S. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for August delivery was down 48 cents at $100.76 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Bank of England refrained from pumping more money into the economy in the United Kingdom, citing signs of growth, as it held its first meeting since the arrival of the new governor, Mark Carney. But stocks rallied on expectations the central bank will keep its monetary policy loose for some time.
Nestle SA said it will cut infant formula prices in China by an average of 11 percent starting Monday in response to an investigation into alleged price-fixing by several foreign companies. The price cuts by the company's Wyeth Nutrition unit will be maintained through 2014, and the prices of some products will be cut by up to 20 percent, Nestle spokesman Jonathan Dong said.
Pakistan took a major step toward averting an economic crisis, reaching an initial deal with the International Monetary Fund on a bailout of at least $5.3 billion to help shore up the country's rapidly diminishing foreign reserves. The announcement should help calm fears of financial instability in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people grappling with rampant violence by Islamic militants. But the deal mandates economic reforms that may be unpopular with Pakistanis.
The International Monetary Fund pressed Italy to do more about "unacceptably high" unemployment, especially among young people and women, and urged it to bring back an unpopular property tax whose return could threaten the survival of Premier Enrico Letta's coalition government. Letta reluctantly agreed to let property owners skip paying the tax in June, and has said his government would decide later in the year whether to revive the tax, which brings in some $5.2 billion in revenue annually.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has been recorded saying wrongdoing by his British newspapers was "next to nothing" and apparently acknowledging his reporters paid police officers for information. Staffers at two of Murdoch's British tabloids have been charged as part of police investigations into phone hacking and bribery.
Polish airline LOT has canceled one trans-Atlantic flight and postponed another after technical problems on two of its Boeing 787 planes, the carrier's spokeswoman said. The flight to Chicago was canceled because of problems with the power system, while another to Toronto was postponed due to issues associated with the plane's tracking system.
A Pittsburgh-based marine services company has built two new tugboats, a reminder that the old business of pushing barges along rivers continues even in modern times. Campbell Transportation christened the Renee Lynn and the Alice Jean at a riverside ceremony, the first new major vessels built in Pittsburgh in 30 years.