US consumer confidence soars
US consumer confidence rose in May to the highest level in almost six years as a rising stock market and property values helped lift Americans' outlook on the economy.
The University of Michigan final index of sentiment increased to 84.5 in May, the strongest since July 2007. In Britain, consumer sentiment hit a six-month high in May, and a leading business association revised up its growth forecasts for the first time since the financial crisis, adding to hopes that a tentative recovery is under way.
TOKYO PLANS MEGA FLOOD DEFENCES
Tokyo, the world's most populated metropolis, is building defences for the possibility of a flood in the next 200 years that could dwarf the damage superstorm Sandy wrought on the US East Coast.
Japan's capital, flanked by rivers to the east and west, as well as running through it, faces 33 trillion yen (€500bn) in damages should the banks break on the Arakawa River that bisects Tokyo, according to government estimates. That's more than five times the aid package for Sandy.
TUI TRAVEL TO BUY 60 BOEING PLANES
TUI Travel plans to buy 60 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft valued at $6.1bn (€4.7bn) and will take options for another 90 planes as the travel company renews its fleet with airliners that are less costly to operate.
Airlines have rushed to order more than 3,000 of the more fuel-efficient variants of the Boeing and Airbus SAS single-aisle planes since the two introduced upgraded versions of their bestsellers in the last two years. Fuel has become the single-highest expense for most of the world's airlines, accounting for more than 40pc of costs.
LUXURY-GOODS MAKERS FEEL PINCH
Luxury-goods makers are adapting as demand for premium products aligns with the broader economy for the first time in a decade, the chief executive officer of Gucci said.
"The luxury industry, for the first time in the past 10 years, had to face challenges that were not there before," Patrizio di Marco said. Gucci's owner, Paris-based Kering, last month reported first-quarter revenue that trailed estimates as the luxury-goods company posted its weakest quarterly growth in more than three years. Amid a more volatile business climate in Europe, competitors LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Hermes International have also reported slowing sales growth.