Monsanto drops takeover bid for Syngenta

Agricultural business giant Monsanto is abandoning its takeover bid for competitor Syngenta AG after the Swiss chemical producer rejected its latest offer of nearly $47 billion. A combination with Syngenta would have made Monsanto the world's largest producer of farming chemicals, in addition to its market-leading seed business. But the Swiss pesticide maker rejected a series of unsolicited offers from the American company. Monsanto confirmed Wednesday that it had raised its offer last week to 470 francs per share, or nearly $47 billion, from a previous offer of about $45 billion. But Monsanto says the enhanced offer "did not meet Syngenta's financial expectations."

Durable-goods orders up 2 percent in July

Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose for a second month in July, and demand in a key category that tracks business investment plans jumped by the largest amount in 13 months. The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods — items expected to last at least three years like refrigerators and cars — increased 2 percent in July after a 4.1 percent gain in June. The result adds to a string of recent economic data that indicate the U.S. economy is on solid ground even in the face of various global headwinds. Deepening concerns about China's economy have sent shock waves through the world's financial markets in recent days.

Net income for farmers expected to decline

It will be a less profitable year for farmers as low grain, milk and hog prices cut into income, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say. The abundance of grain leftover from last year's crop and 2015's anticipated harvest of the third-largest corn crop and second-largest soybean crop on record have kept prices below the cost of production, while the cost of seed, fertilizer and land has dropped only slightly. Net farm income is expected to decline 36 percent to $58.3 billion, the USDA said in a report. That's down from last year's $91.1 billion and the lowest in nine years. Just two years ago, net farm income was the highest ever, $123.7 billion.

Schlumberger to buy Cameron for $12.7B

Schlumberger is buying Cameron International Corp. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $12.71 billion that would create an oilfield equipment and service powerhouse. Cameron was the maker of the blowout preventer on the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon rig, which was rocked by an explosion and fire in 2010 that killed 11 workers and touched off an enormous oil spill. Cameron shareholders will receive 0.716 shares of Schlumberger common stock and a cash payment of $14.44 for each of their shares. That equates to a value of $66.36 per Cameron share. That's a 56 percent premium to the Houston company's Tuesday closing price of $42.47. Schlumberger and Cameron put the acquisition's total value at $14.8 billion.

Novo Nordisk to open new factory in N.C.

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk said it will open new factories in North Carolina and Denmark as pharmaceutical companies seek to keep up with demand for diabetes medications in an increasingly overweight world. Novo Nordisk plans to invest about $2 billion over the next five years in new production facilities in the Raleigh suburb of Clayton and near Copenhagen, Denmark. The company plans to create close to 700 new production and engineering jobs in Clayton, where Novo Nordisk now employs more than 700 people at a factory producing insulin products. About 100 jobs are planned for the new Danish factory producing oral products, including a new drug entering further human trials.

Facebook to offer virtual assistant service

Facebook is the latest technology company to offer users a virtual assistant service. Facebook is testing the artificial intelligence-powered service, called simply "M," inside its messaging app, Messenger, with some users. David Marcus, the head of messaging products at the Menlo Park, Calif., company, says in a Facebook post that M can do things like buy items for you, get gifts delivered and book restaurant reservations or appointments. Apple's Siri is the most well-known virtual assistant. Microsoft and Amazon also have options.

Kraft Heinz recalls turkey bacon products

Kraft Heinz Foods Co. is recalling more than 2 million pounds of turkey bacon products that may be unsafe because they could possibly spoil before the "Best When Used By" date. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said that it has received reports of illness tied to individuals eating the items. The turkey bacon products included in the recall were produced between May 31 and Aug. 6. They were shipped across the United States.