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July 1, 2014 / 1:00 PM / 3 years ago

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TOP STORIES

US imposes record fine on BNP in sanctions warning to banks

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON/PARIS - French bank BNP Paribas pleads guilty to two criminal charges and agrees to pay almost $9 billion to resolve accusations it violated U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran, in a severe punishment aimed at sending a clear message to other financial institutions around the world. (BNP-PARIBAS-SETTLEMENT/ (WRAPUP 2), moved, by Joseph Ax, Aruna Viswanatha and Maya Nikolaeva, 1,400 words)

Asian factories pick up pace as euro zone stalls

LONDON/TOKYO - Manufacturing activity in Asia’s industrial powerhouses China and Japan gain pace, fuelled by improving demand at home, but euro zone growth falters as main motor Germany slows. (GLOBAL-ECONOMY), moved, by Jonathan Cable and Tomasz Janowski, 700 words)

+ See also:

- PMI MANUFACTURING/BRITAIN, moved, by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, 500 words

- JAPAN-ECONOMY, moved, by Leika Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto, 700 words

Banks boost Europe as shares start second half brightly

LONDON - European and Asian stocks start the second half of 2014 brightly, helped by upbeat Chinese data and bets that record low interest rates will remain in place for some time yet. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), moved, by Marc Jones, 800 words)

ECB’s Draghi faces questions over guidance on rates

FRANKFURT - European Central Bank President Mario Draghi faces a grilling on Thursday over the bank’s forward guidance on interest rates after he hinted at a stronger message last month without spelling it out clearly (ECB-POLICY (PREVIEW), expect by 1300, by Paul Carrel, 500 words)

INSIGHT

Truck by truck, Israel builds trade gateway to Arab world

HAIFA, Israel - Three years after Syria plunged into violence, Israel is reaping an unlikely economic benefit. The number of trucks crossing between Israel and Jordan has jumped, according to the Israel Airports Authority. The trade, though still small, is growing enough to encourage long-held Israeli hopes that the Jewish state can become a commercial gateway to the Arab world. (ISRAEL-TRADE (INSIGHT, PIX), By Ari Rabinovich and Tova Cohen, moved, 1,800 words)

ECONOMY

South Africa engineering strike new blow to sickly economy

JOHANNESBURG - A strike by more than 220,000 South African engineering workers, hot on the heels of a crippling platinum stoppage that ended last week, will deal a fresh blow to a contracting economy. (SAFRICA-STRIKE (TV, UPDATE 2), moved, by Stella Mapenzauswa and Tiisetso Motsoeneng, 600 words)

Boom time for moneylenders as debt drags on Thai recovery

BANGKOK - Thai households are among the most indebted in Asia, and the official figures understate the problem due to the large sums also owed to loan sharks - estimated at as much as $74 billion. (THAILAND-ECONOMY/DEBT, moved, by Orathai Sriring, 1,100 words)

COMPANIES

Chrysler’s U.S. sales up 9 percent, besting forecasts

DETROIT - Chrysler Group reports a 9 percent gain in U.S. auto sales for June, beating forecasts for a month expected to show an industry-wide decrease from a year earlier. (AUTOS-SALES/JUNE (UPDATE 1), expect by 1345 GMT/8.45 AM ET, by Bernie Woodall and Paul Lienert, 300 words)

VW woos luxury buyers with new Passat

BERLIN - German carmaker Volkswagen is beefing up its Passat mid-range flagship car to help it compete against premium brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz and pull further away from mass-market rivals. (VW-PASSAT, expect by 1500 GMT/11 AM ET, by Andreas Cremer, 650 words)

“Connected” cars spark tech-investor interest

PARIS - Technology and telecoms firms could end up being the big winners of the burgeoning ‘intelligent car’ revolution set to transform the automobile business in the next few years, as investors look for potential winners to pick. (AUTOS-TECHNOLOGY, 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Blaise Robinson, 600 words)

Portugal’s BES shares on roller-coaster after shorts ban

LONDON/LISBON - Shares in Banco Espirito Santo rebound from a near 12-month low, as the Portuguese bank attempts to allay concerns over financial troubles at its parent company and possible losses at its Angolan unit. (BANCOESPIRITOSANTO/STOCKS (UPDATE 1), moved, by Laura Noonan and Andrei Khalip, 500 words)

Vatican bank’s head to quit in restructuring, sources say

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican bank’s chairman is to step down as soon as next week as part of the restructuring of an institution that has been an embarrassment to the Catholic Church for decades, Vatican sources say. (VATICAN-BANK), moved, pix, by Philip Pullella, 500 words)

Reinsurance prices under pressure mid-year -brokers

FRANKFURT - Reinsurance prices fall by as much as a fourth in key markets mid-year as pension funds pour money into a segment already facing subdued demand from insurance companies, brokers say. (INSURANCE-PRICES), expect by 1430 GMT/1030 AM ET, by Jonathan Gould, 550 words)

For Alibaba, a challenge is to turn mobile into money

BEIJING - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd may have dominated online retail on personal computers, but is some way from replicating that leadership in shopping by smartphone and other mobile devices. (ALIBABA-GROUP-MOBILE, moved, by Paul Carsten, 1,050 words)

Conflict minerals law starts working despite poor response

LONDON - A U.S. law on conflict minerals is curbing the presence of African warlords around mines in Congo, campaigners say, but its full impact remains unclear, with most firms having failed to pinpoint the origin of their metals by a June deadline. (MINERALS-CONFLICT/ (PIX), moved, by Eric Onstad, 900 words)

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