World briefs: India’s Sensex stock-market index reaches record high

  • Updated: June 16, 2014 - 7:19 PM

Global business

India’s Sensex stock-market index reached a record high, driven in part by optimism about the new government under Narendra Modi. The Sensex has risen by 11 percent over the past month and is the best performer among the world’s biggest stock markets this year.

 

A better-than-expected jobs report in America — where employers added 217,000 workers to the payrolls in May — helped propel the S&P 500 index to another high. More Americans are now at work than before the start of the financial crisis (although, with a larger population, the labor-force participation rate is still down, at 62.8 percent).

 

The British government laid out plans to make the manipulation of financial benchmarks a criminal offense. The image of London’s financial district, the City, took a knock after the LIBOR scandal. A potentially much larger and ongoing investigation is looking at the alleged rigging of benchmarks in foreign-currency trading.

 

American International Group named Peter Hancock as its new chief executive to take over from Robert Benmosche, who will retire earlier than expected, in September. Benmosche took charge at AIG in 2009 after its $182 billion bailout and is credited with doing much to return it to profitability (along with the U.S. government’s support).

 

In a blow to Airbus, Emirates airline withdrew its $16 billion order for 70 A350 jets, which is the European aerospace company’s biggest canceled order to date. The A350 is due to come into service later this year and is Airbus’ answer to Boeing’s Dreamliner. Emirates ordered the A350s in 2007 for delivery in 2019, but it is now reviewing its fleet requirements.

 

The European Commission opened a formal investigation into the tax treatment afforded to Apple in Ireland, Starbucks in the Netherlands and a unit of Fiat in Luxembourg. The probe is looking at whether arrangements in which firms transfer profit between subsidiaries to take advantage of lower-tax regimes break European rules on state aid. The tax benefit that Apple gains by parking profits in Ireland was lambasted by a U.S. Senate committee last year.

 

Infosys, an Indian software and IT-services company, said its founder, Narayana Murthy, would stand down as its executive chairman. Murthy returned to Infosys, which has been losing market share to bigger rivals, last year and had been expected to stay for at least two years. A new chief executive also was appointed: Vishal Sikka, who will be the first person from outside Infosys to hold the job.

 

The year’s frenzy of deal making in the drugs industry ­continued with Merck agreeing to buy Idenix for $3.9 billion. Idenix is one of the companies at the forefront of ­developing costly “next-generation” treatments to cure hepatitis C.

Political economy

Three-fifths of Germans are in favor of Angela Merkel, the chancellor, backing a bid by Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker to be the next president of the European Commission despite stiff opposition from Britain, according to a Forsa poll. Only 19 percent said Merkel should prioritize good relations with David Cameron, the British prime minister, who is leading the camp opposed to a Juncker presidency.

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