Carlsberg reported a quarterly loss, as revenue declined by 30 percent in Eastern Europe. The Danish brewer has taken a pounding from the effect of sanctions and a volatile ruble in Russia, one of its biggest markets. Still, the departing chief executive, Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, insists Carlsberg will stay in Russia to be ready for when the market rebounds.
After a lengthy campaign, an attempt by Nelson Peltz — an activist investor — to install a slate of directors at DuPont, a chemical company, was defeated by shareholders at the annual meeting. It is rare for an activist's schemes to go all the way to a shareholder vote; many companies concede at least some demands before it gets that far.
Airbus resumed test flights of its A400M military transport aircraft, two days after one of the jets crashed after taking off from Seville airport in Spain, killing four of the six crew. Spain suspended its orders and Britain, Germany and others halted test flights of their A400Ms pending more information about the crash.
Syngenta, based in Switzerland and the world's biggest producer of pesticides and other crop chemicals, rejected a $45 billion takeover offer from Monsanto. The American agribusiness giant wants to add Syngenta's know-how to its lucrative seeds portfolio, though any eventual deal is likely to run into opposition from food-policy activists.
Noble Energy bought Rosetta Resources in a deal worth around $3.9 billion. It is the first significant takeover in America's shale-oil industry since the collapse of the oil price that has shaken the industry. More consolidation is expected.
A study carried out by Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit manager that negotiates prices between drug companies and health insurers, found the number of Americans with annual prescription costs above $50,000 had risen by 63 percent in 2014, to 576,000. The number whose costs were over $100,000 trebled, to 139,000. Patients are being prescribed ever more complex combinations of drugs to treat multiple conditions, but medications for hepatitis C and cancer explain a good deal of the surge in costs.
China's central bank reduced its main interest rate by a quarter of one percentage point, the third cut in six months. This came ahead of the release of more data indicating that the economy is decelerating at a faster rate than had been thought. In April China's money supply grew at the slowest rate on record; fixed-asset investment rose by 12 percent in January to April, the most languid pace since late 2000.
Despite a slowdown in Germany, the eurozone chalked up growth of 0.4 percent in the first three months of the year compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, the fastest rate in nearly two years. The Italian and French economies expanded by more than had been expected, but the shining star was Spain, which grew by 0.9 percent, its best performance in nearly eight years.
David Cameron appointed a cabinet after the Conservative Party confounded the pollsters by winning a small majority in Britain's election, a landmark event that has reshaped the country's political landscape. The Liberal Democrats, who had governed in coalition with the Tories over the past five years, saw their vote collapse, returning just eight MPs.
A few days after the Conservatives won a thumping election victory, the Bank of England lowered its forecast for GDP growth in Britain this year to 2.5 percent, from a projection of 2.9 percent. With inflation expected to remain close to zero until later this year, the consensus about when the central bank might raise interest rates has moved to mid 2016.
The European Commission outlined a plan that would allow 20,000 refugees to resettle across Europe. More than 60,000 have tried to make the crossing so far this year alone.
Greece came close to running out of cash. Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister, said the country's liquidity situation is "terribly urgent … we are talking about the next couple of weeks." On the same day, he raided Greece's holding account at the IMF to repay an $844 million loan installment owed to the fund itself. The Greek economy, meanwhile, fell back into recession.
Francois Hollande became the first French president to visit Cuba. He met the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, and his brother, Raúl, the current president. Cuba has been a popular destination for foreign politicians since December, when President Obama and Raúl Castro announced they would move toward normalizing relations.