Europe finance tax

A group of 11 European Union countries was given the go-ahead to work on the introduction of a tax on financial transactions. The tax is designed to help pay for the rescue of Europe’s banks and discourage risky trading. It would apply to anyone in the 11 countries who makes a bond or share trade or uses derivatives.

Pa. casino concern

The state’s top Republican senators have asked Gov. Tom Corbett to make it clear that the Pennsylvania Lottery cannot compete with casinos through online gambling. They warned that they may pursue legislation to cement that prohibition. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said they want the private lottery manager’s contract rewritten to prohibit interactive video games or simulated slot machines or table games.

Japan money plan

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a ‘monetary regime change,’ as the central bank bowed to government pressure, setting a 2 percent inflation target aimed at helping the country emerge from prolonged deflation. However, the central bank’s new asset purchases won’t start for a year.

CEOs less confident

A survey showed a steady drop in the number of CEOs worldwide who are ‘very confident’ their companies will grow this year. The number fell from 48 percent in 2011 to 36 percent this year, according to the survey by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

This Bud’s for Europe

AB InBev is the only company allowed to call its brews Bud in Europe, after a ruling by an EU high court rejecting a challenge from the Czech company Budejovicky Budvar. The ruling is the latest round in a century-long fight between the two companies over the right to use the word Budweiser.

Oil, gas prices up

The price of oil rose 68 cents to a four-month high of $96.24 a barrel as global economic reports point to improving conditions. At the pump, gasoline ticked up to a national average of $3.31 a gallon. It’s about 7 cents less than a year ago.

Suppliers warned

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has alerted its global suppliers it will drop them if they subcontract their work to factories that the discounter hasn’t authorized. Wal-Mart’s stricter contracting rule comes amid increasing calls for better safety oversight after a deadly fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplied clothing to Wal-Mart and other retailers.

Loss for Verizon

Verizon strengthened its position as the top dog of the wireless industry in its latest quarter by raking in new subscribers and selling millions of iPhones, but also posted a record loss. The loss of $4.23 billion for the fourth quarter was mainly due to adjustments to the value of its pension funds and obligations.

AT&T spectrum deal

AT&T Inc. said that it has reached a deal to buy remnants of the Alltel wireless network for about $780 million to boost its spectrum holdings in rural areas.

The Alltel network covers about 4.6 million people in mainly rural areas across six states — Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.

J&J profits rise

Higher sales of prescription drugs and medical devices helped Johnson & Johnson post a much bigger fourth-quarter profit than a year ago, when a slew of charges depressed results. However, consumer health product sales dipped and the company again pushed back its timeline for returning recalled products to stores.