Yahoo said it will buy back 40 million shares, valued at $1.2 billion, from Third Point, a hedge fund headed by Daniel Loeb. Shares in the Internet giant have almost doubled in value since the activist investor helped to boot out Scott Thompson and install Marissa Mayer as boss a year ago. Third Point will keep a stake of less than 2 percent in Yahoo, worth around $500 million, but Loeb and two directors he nominated will leave the board.

The People's Bank of China lifted restrictions on commercial interest rates, leaving lenders free to set the price of credit for the first time. By removing the floor on rates, previously set at 70 percent of the central bank's benchmark rate, officials hope to increase competition among banks and spur lending to private companies.

The Financial Stability Board, which coordinates financial regulation for the G-20, named nine insurers, including Allianz, MetLife and Prudential, as "systemically important." The designation, previously reserved for big banks, entails closer regulatory scrutiny and higher capital requirements. The insurers argue that lumping them with lenders is unfair because of their different risk profiles.

America's Securities and Exchange Commission charged Steven Cohen in a probe centered on his hedge fund, SAC Capital. The SEC did not accuse Cohen directly of insider trading, but filed a civil suit against him for failing "reasonably to supervise" two underlings, who now await criminal trial for it. SAC vowed to fight the charge.

A federal appeals court upheld a verdict reached last year by a jury in Texas to invalidate two patents covering some of the Internet's basic interactive features. This put an end to a protracted legal battle which pitted a clutch of big Web firms, including Amazon and Google, against the patents' owner, Eolas Technologies.

Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners, a private-equity firm, raised their offer for the computer maker Dell founded by 10 cents a share, to $13.75 a share. A vote by Dell shareholders on whether to accept the buyout bid was postponed for the second time.

Apple made a profit of $6.9 billion in the second quarter, down from $8.8 billion last year but higher than many analysts had expected, thanks to soaring demand for iPhones. The gadget maker shipped 31.2 million smartphones in the three months to June, 5.2 million more than a year ago. Sales of its tablet computers, though, were disappointing: only 14.6 million iPads were sold between April and June, down from 17 million last year.

SAP announced that it will not replace Jim Hagemann Snabe, one of its two joint chief executives, when he moves to the supervisory board in May 2014. That will leave Bill McDermott, an American, alone at the helm of the German software giant.

Caterpillar's second-quarter sales fell to $14.6 billion, from $17.3 billion a year earlier, and profits sank by 43 percent, to $960 million. The world's biggest maker of earth-moving equipment benefited from a decade of insatiable demand for diggers in places like China but feels the pinch as growth in emerging markets slows.

Bentley Motors announced that it would invest $1.2 billion in its factory in Crewe, England. The high-end carmaker, based in Britain but owned by Volkswagen, plans to expand the plant to build its first sport-utility vehicle, which it says will be the "most luxurious and most powerful," and probably most expensive, in the world.

Political economy

The G-20 endorsed a road map drawn up by the OECD for reforming the current patchwork of cross-border tax rules and treaties. Its 15 proposals should make it harder for companies to exploit the existing system's many loopholes.

The E.U.'s controversial Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive came into force. The directive, which will be phased in over a year, aims to change the way hedge funds, buyout firms and other alternative-investment companies in Europe deal with risk, market their funds and pay staff. The industry fears that the new rules will serve mainly to raise costs to investors.

In Japan the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, handily won elections for the Diet's upper house, though his Liberal Democratic Party needed the government's junior partner, New Komeito, for a majority. Voters signaled that they want Abe to push ahead with plans to pull the economy out of its long slump.