(Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings on Thursday but said sales fell as a continued slump in the global mining industry offset a rebound in the North American building sector. Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of earth-moving equipment, raised its full-year profit outlook to $5.75 a share, from $5.55 a share. Caterpillar said the change reflected weak construction sales in once fast-growing markets including China, the former Soviet republics and the Africa-Middle East region. In North America, second-quarter sales increased 6 percent, primarily due to improving demand for construction equipment in the United States.
China's food regulator has visited close to 600 restaurants, businesses and food distributors as it investigates a fast-spreading food safety scare that has dragged in a number of global brands and hit food outlets as far away as Japan. Hong Kong said on Thursday it suspended, with immediate effect, all imports from the U.S.-owned Chinese supplier at the center of the latest scare. It was unclear when the company last shipped its products to Hong Kong. Shanghai police detained five people on Wednesday, including the head and the quality chief of Shanghai Husi Food, a supplier to foreign fast-food brands including KFC, McDonald's Corp and coffee chain Starbucks Corp over allegations it supplied out-of-date meat.
By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah and Siva Govindasamy KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Russia will cooperate with the investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner a week ago and is satisfied that the Netherlands, rather than Ukraine, is leading the effort, the country's ambassador to Malaysia said on Thursday. Liudmila Vorobyeva also rejected suggestions that the pro-Russian separatists blamed by Western governments for shooting down Flight MH17 possessed a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile, and said the rebels lacked the training to use such a system. Nearly 300 people, 193 of them Dutch citizens, were killed when the Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down in eastern Ukraine, where separatists are battling government forces, on July 17. The norm under rules set down by the United Nation's civil aviation body (ICAO) is that an air investigation is led by the state in whose territory the plane crash, but Russia had said that Ukraine should not take charge because the rebels who control the crash site did not trust the authorities in Kiev.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, following a record close on the S&P 500 index, lifted by strong data overseas and better than forecast results from Facebook. China's factory activity expanded at its fastest in 18 months in July and the euro zone's private sector also perked up, suggesting the global economy began the second half of 2014 on a solid footing. A reading on the U.S. manufacturing sector is due at 9:45 a.m. EDT, following data on applications for unemployment insurance due at 8:30 a.m. New home sales numbers are expected at 10:00 a.m. ...
By Ben Klayman DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co reported a much lower second-quarter profit on Thursday due to numerous recalls and the expected cost of at least $400 million for a compensation fund for those killed or injured by a defective ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths. GM also reiterated that it expected a moderately improved operating profit this year and that its future recall costs would be slightly higher than historic rates. "We're on or ahead of the plan we shared in January," Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens told reporters. "Our expectation is that the second half of the year will be better than the first half." GM earlier this year recalled 2.6 million cars for the faulty ignition switches, which can cause engine stalls and stop air bags from deploying, and power steering and power brakes from operating.
China's factory activity expanded at its fastest in 18 months in July as new orders surged while the euro zone's private sector also perked up, suggesting the global economy started the second half of 2014 on a solid footing. While China is relying on increased government stimulus to steer its economy away from reliance on exports and towards consumer spending, Europe has taken the opposite approach, combining fiscal austerity with near-zero interest rates. A comparable survey of private sector activity in the euro zone also rose more than expected, to 54.0 from 52.8, even without signs of the resurgence in inflation from dangerously low levels that the European Central Bank is trying to engineer. Taken together with data pointing to a solid expansion for the United States, and with most stock markets rallying or near record highs, the reports suggest the world economy is in a brighter spot.
(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said Greg Foran, the head of its Asia business, would now lead its struggling U.S. business. Foran, who replaces Bill Simon, will take over his new role on Aug. 9, the company said. Wal-Mart's U.S. same-store sales have remained sluggish for at least a year. (Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)
By Se Young Lee SEOUL (Reuters) - LG Electronics Inc signalled further improvement in its mobile business after record smartphone sales propelled the South Korean manufacturer to its highest quarterly profit in more than three years. Chief Financial Officer Jung Do-hyun on Thursday said mobile income should improve again in the current quarter with the help of LG's flagship G3 smartphone, which has been well-received by critics since its late-May launch. "We expect further improvement." LG said operating profit rose 26.5 percent to 606 billion won ($589.04 million) in April-June, versus a 524 billion won mean estimate of 39 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. That marked LG's highest operating profit since at least 2011, the earliest date for which restated earnings are available.
(Reuters) - 3M Co posted a 6 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by broad sales growth across the U.S. manufacturer's range of businesses. The company, whose products include Post-it notes and films for electronic devices, said second-quarter net income rose to $1.27 billion, or $1.91 per share, from $1.2 billion, or $1.71 per share, a year ago. Profit matched the $1.91 per share average estimate of analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 4.9 percent to $8.13 billion, ahead of the $8.09 billion expected by analysts. The company backed its full-year forecast for earnings in a range of $7.30 to $7.55 per share on sales growth of 3 percent to 6 percent.
Air Algerie said Thursday it had lost contact with one of its passenger aircraft nearly an hour after takeoff from Burkina Faso bound for Algiers. On July 17, the Bamako government and armed groups from northern Mali launched tough talks in Algiers aimed at securing an elusive peace deal, and with parts of the country still mired in conflict. "The plane was not far from the Algerian frontier when the crew was asked to make a detour because of poor visibility and to prevent the risk of collision with another aircraft on the Algiers-Bamako route," the Air Algerie source said. "Air navigation services have lost contact with an Air Algerie plane Thursday flying from Ouagadougou to Algiers, 50 minutes after takeoff," the statement said.
In their fourth season, Vermont's Worth Skis was almost lost to a fire. Picking up where they left off, the company is reestablishing themselves for the 2014/15 season.Read More
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in nearly 8-1/2 years last week, suggesting the labor market recovery was gaining traction. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000 for the week ended July 19, the Labor Department said on Thursday. A Labor Department analyst, however, said there were no special factors influencing the state level data. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen cautioned last week that the Fed could raise interest rates sooner and more rapidly than currently envisioned if the labor market continued to improve faster than anticipated by policymakers.
By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google's handling of "right to be forgotten" requests from European citizens will come under fire from the continent's privacy watchdogs on Thursday, after the search engine restricted the removal of Internet links to European sites only. European data protection authorities are meeting representatives of Google, Microsoft, which operates the Bing search engine, and Yahoo to discuss the implementation of the landmark ruling from Europe's top court upholding people's right to request that outdated links be removed from Internet search results. European Union privacy watchdogs have several concerns on the way the ruling, which has pitted privacy advocates against free speech defenders, is being implemented, particularly by Google, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group has denied a media report saying it was working with technology company Apple on a smartwatch, a wearable device with interactive functions. Technology website VentureBeat said in a report on Wednesday Apple was working with "at least one partner, Swatch" on a smartwatch project, citing an unnamed source. A spokeswoman for Swatch Group said on Thursday the report was unfounded. She said the only business relationship Swatch Group had with mobile phone makers was as a supplier of integrated circuits and other electronic components.
The European Central Bank has received a blackmail letter after its public website was hacked and contact data stolen, the bank said on Thursday. "There has been a breach of the security protecting a database serving (our) public website," the ECB said in a statement. "The database serves parts of the ECB website that gather registrations for events such as ECB conferences and visits. It is physically separate from any internal ECB systems," the statement said.
While Gameloft is only officially releasing first-person shooter Modern Combat 5 today, thousands have already played it. A cracked copy was distributed through various torrent sites following a contest that awarded its winners early access to the game.
(Reuters) - American Airlines Group Inc said on Thursday it will pay its first dividend since 1980 and buy back stock as it reported higher second-quarter earnings. American, the largest airline by traffic, formed from the late-2013 merger of US Airways and AMR Corp, declared a dividend of 10 cents a share for shareholders of record Aug. 4. American also said it planned a $1 billion share repurchase program and would make additional pension contributions.
Apple is widely expected to launch at least a couple of different iWatch models this fall, that will be laden with many sensors for fitness and health purposes, and connect to iPhones for notifications and other data. While VentureBeat has learned from sources in the know that Apple has bigger smartwatch plans than that, as the company is working with famed watch giant Swatch on releasing several other iWatch models, the Swiss company told Bloomberg that it doesn’t plan to work with Apple on the iWatch. FROM EARLIER: New report claims Apple will release three different iWatches VentureBeat said that Apple may be working with other partners in the watch business in addition to Swatch, to make sure that its iWatch will suit
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it is applying for regulatory approval for the world's first vaccine against malaria, designed for use in children in Africa. The British drugmaker said the shot, called RTS,S, is intended exclusively for use outside the European Union but will be evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills more than 600,000 people a year, mainly babies in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Yet hopes that RTS,S would be the final answer to wiping out malaria were dampened when results from a final-stage trial in babies aged six to 12 weeks showed the shot provided only modest protection, reducing episodes of the disease by 30 percent compared to immunization with a control vaccine.