Global business

Benjamin Lawsky, New York state's financial regulator, slapped a $300 million fine on Standard Chartered for failing to comply with anti-money laundering procedures. He also imposed a $25 million penalty on PricewaterhouseCoopers for softening a report about payments from Iran and other sanctioned countries made through Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

A bidding war broke out among the biggest U.S. discount retailers when Dollar General offered to buy Family Dollar in a $9.7 billion offer that trumped an earlier tender from Dollar Tree, the only one of the three where every item actually costs $1. The combined revenue of Dollar General and Family Dollar is $28 billion.

India's benchmark stock market index, the Sensex, reached another record high, as investors cheered a speech by Narendra Modi, the reform-minded prime minister. But the bullish sentiment sparked by Modi's election could soon fizzle if his government does not deliver on its promises.

Hewlett-Packard reported that total revenue had grown in the latest quarter for the first time in 11 quarters, to $27.6 billion. The increase was 1 percent. It achieved this by a 12 percent rise in computer sales, a market that has wilted as people switch to wireless devices, but which may have been boosted by the phasing out of support for Windows XP.

China's powerful National Development and Reform Commission levied fines on 12 Japanese manufacturers of car parts or ball bearings. They are the first penalties to be reported in an investigation into price-fixing for spare parts and services among foreign car companies.

Hertz's share price fell sharply, after the car-rental company forecast that annual profit would come in "well below" expectations. It said business had suffered in part when it was left with a shortage of cars because of a large number of safety recalls. General Motors supplies Hertz with 28 percent of its fleet.

BHP Billiton confirmed that it will spin off its less profitable assets into a separately traded company in order to focus on its core ventures in iron ore, copper, coal, petroleum and potash. The move unravels much of the merger in 2001 between BHP and Billiton.

Glencore said it would return $1 billion to shareholders through buybacks, as it reaps the benefits from selling a Peruvian copper mine for $6.5 billion and a vigorous commodities-trading business. Mining companies are having to cope with slow growth.

Steve Ballmer stepped down from Microsoft's board, having handed over the reins as chief executive to Satya Nadella last February. Ballmer recently bought the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team for an estimated $2 billion.

Acknowledging the regulatory challenges it faces, Uber hired David Plouffe, Barack Obama's former campaign manager, to direct its strategy. The car-sharing business operates in 170 cities around the world but faces resistance from entrenched interests.

Political economy

The European Union said it would pay $170 million in emergency compensation to fruit and vegetable growers hit by Russia's ban on most imported food from the E.U. in retaliation for sanctions.

Thousands of protesters in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, demanded the resignation of Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister. They were followers either of Imran Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician calling for new elections, or a Muslim cleric, Tahir ul Qadri, who is against politics altogether.

A second railway in Tibet opened, between Lhasa, the capital, and the second city, Shigatse. The railway is one of the highest in the world.

Argentina's president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, announced a plan to swap debt issued under U.S. law for locally governed bonds, potentially ending the country's debt default of July.

In Sonora in northern Mexico, 88 schools were shut after 20 million liters of sulfuric acid spilled into a river from a copper mine belonging to Grupo México, a mining conglomerate. Environmental officials filed a criminal complaint against the company.