US home starts soar
THE pace of US home construction jumped in April to its highest level since November.
Housing starts climbed 13.2pc to 1.07 million, the Commerce Department reported in Washington. Permits for future projects also increased, a sign activity might accelerate in coming months. "Single-family is still concerning, but multi-family is going full throttle," said Richard Moody, of Regions Financial in Birmingham, Alabama.
CREDIT SUISSE TALKS
CREDIT Suisse is said to be close to reaching an agreement to plead guilty and pay about $2.5bn (€1.8bn) to the US Justice Department and regulators to resolve investigations into whether it helped Americans evade taxes.
The Zurich-based bank would pay about $1.7bn to the Justice Department, at least $600m to the New York Department of Financial Services and $100m to the Federal Reserve. "That seems higher than what everybody was anticipating," said William Sharp, a tax lawyer.
WARNING ON TAKEOVER
SWEDEN'S government urged shareholders of AstraZeneca to reject a takeover by Pfizer, saying the deal risks hurting the largest Nordic economy.
Finance Minister Anders Borg said we're now seeing a hostile process where an important reason for the deal seems to be to cut Pfizer's tax burden. "There's a worry that tax-driven deals can result in that potential profits will be achieved through cost cuts," he added.
SLOW RISE IN CAR SALES
EUROPEAN car sales rose at the slowest pace in five months in April, as doubts about economic growth in the region contributed to a drop in Germany.
Registrations increased 4.2pc to 1.13 million vehicles, from 1.08 million a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said. Four-month sales gained 7.1pc to 4.48 million cars.
80 PLANES FOR €5.3BN
CHINA Southern Airline, Asia's biggest carrier by passenger numbers, agreed to buy 80 single-aisle jets with a list value of at least $7.3bn (€5.3bn) from Airbus.
The Guangzhou-based carrier will buy 30 A320 jets and 50 A320neo planes, the company told the Shanghai stock exchange. A growing middle class in China is fuelling a travel boom, with Airbus predicting that the country will overtake the US as its largest single market in the future.