Street joints and empires in noodle-crazed Hong Kong

From decades-old holes in the wall to multi-million dollar businesses, Hong Kong's noodle scene is a moneyspinner in a city that runs on quick and affordable comfort food.Steaming bowls are served up 24 hours a day, often in clear richly flavoured brot...

In Lebanon, salt producers fear craft is drying up

At 93, Elias al-Najjar has spent half a century harvesting salt by hand from ponds on Lebanon's Mediterranean shore, but he and his colleagues fear their way of life is dying.Traditional coastal salt production was once popular in Lebanon, but the full...

US to sell pork to Argentina for first time since 1992

The White House announced an agreement with Argentina on Thursday that will allow American farmers to export pork to the South American nation for the first time in 25 years. The agreement to open the market potentially worth $10 million a year came af...

LNG tanker makes Arctic passage unaided

A tanker carrying liquefied natural gas has made the passage from Europe to Asia via the Arctic unaided, a maritime course that has become possible due to global warming, energy firm Total said Thursday.It is "the first commercial vessel to travel alon...

Wal-Mart profits fall as it ramps investment to fight Amazon

Discount retail giant Walmart updated investors Thursday on its latest gadgets and time-saving options aimed at luring shoppers away from arch-rival Amazon, but the efforts come at a cost. The good news? The company's array of investments in e-commerce...

ECB frets over stronger euro as stimulus exit nears

European Central Bank governors expressed concern over the strength of the euro at their last meeting in July, minutes showed on Thursday, complicating their attempts to ease away from stimulus without undermining the recovery.While the recent apprecia...

Sri Lanka cuts taxes to lift disaster-hit economy

Sri Lanka announced tax cuts and subsidised loans for small businesses and exporters Thursday, amid concerns a raging drought and flash flooding could drag on economic growth.Officials had warned the government's growth target of 5 percent was unlikely...

Wal-Mart reports lower profits but higher US sales

Wal-Mart's namesake US stores turned in another quarter of increased sales Thursday, although the retailing giant reported a drop in profits due to higher expenses.Walmart US, the biggest division at Wal-Mart Stores, scored a 1.8 percent rise in compar...

Three airlines interested in Air Berlin assets: CEO

Air Berlin is in talks with three competitors about buying up its assets, the insolvent airline's boss said Thursday, warning that not all jobs would be saved."Aside from Lufthansa, we are in contact with two other interested parties from the aviation ...

Asia fails to build on Wall Street lead as dollar languishes

The dollar slumped Thursday in the wake of dovish Federal Reserve minutes highlighting concern over inflation and crumbling corporate support for US President Donald Trump.The greenback was back below 110 yen as safe haven assets were reinvigorated, wi...

US stocks rise on dovish Fed minutes

US stocks finished higher Wednesday after Federal Reserve policymakers hinted at a slower pace to future interest rate hikes and retailers gained following a solid earnings report by Target.

The gains came as President Donald Trump disbanded a pair of business advisory boards after several chief executives resigned over the president's response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 percent to 22,024.87.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.1 percent to 2,468.11, while tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.2 percent to 6,345.10.

Some Fed members argued the US central bank can afford to "be patient" before raising rates again, according to minutes of the July meeting that also showed policymakers remained befuddled by weak inflation that has persisted despite historically low unemployment.

Retailers, which have been in retreat much of the year, advanced after big box retailer Target reported that comparable store sales in the second quarter rose 1.3 percent compared with the year-ago amid increasing store traffic.

Target won 3.6 percent, while rivals Costco Wholesale and Wal-Mart Stores climbed 2.2 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

Trump announced that he was ending a pair of CEO advisory councils amid a stampede of executive departures after the president's muted response to a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville.

"For these CEOs it's becoming a distraction they don't need with very little benefit," said Jon Lieber, US practice head at risk consultancy Eurasia Group. Lieber said Republicans in Congress would still press on with tax reform, a key market priority.

J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, said investors have already dismissed the possibility of tax cuts for 2017, but predicted there would be a "reckoning" if there no progress in 2018.

He said the White House's latest setbacks were not critical to investors.

"What drives the market is earnings and we have had pretty good earnings," Kinahan said. "The other stuff is noise."

US can ‘be patient’ in raising rates, Fed members say

US central bankers remain divided over inflation risks, and some argue they can afford to "be patient" before raising rates again, according to the minutes of the last policy meeting released Wednesday.The Federal Reserve had been expected to raise the...

US Fed can ‘be patient’ in raising rates: minutes

US central bankers remain divided over inflation risks, and some argue they can afford to "be patient" before raising rates again, according to the minutes of the last policy meeting released Wednesday.The Federal Reserve had been expected to raise the...

US new home construction slows in July

Homebuilding in the United States slowed in July, in large part due to a drop in construction of apartment buildings, the government reported Wednesday.The slowdown erased most of the gains recorded in a spike in June, and the pace of homebuilding has ...

Germany’s Flixbus rescues train start-up Locomore

Germany's leading long-distance bus operator Flixbus on Wednesday said it had joined forces with a Czech company to rescue the crowd-funded rail start-up Locomore and get its trains back on the rails.Services on the Berlin-Stuttgart line would resume o...

Fiat joins BMW-led group to develop driverless cars

Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler on Wednesday said it was joining a BMW-led group to develop fully self-driving vehicles, the latest tie-up in an industry racing to get ready for the cars of the future.German luxury carmaker BMW began working o...

AkzoNobel buries hatchet with shareholder over PPG takeover

Dutch paintmaker AkzoNobel said Wednesday it has buried the hatchet with a key shareholder in a long-running spat over a planned takeover by US-based chemical giant PPG.But the pressure remains on AkzoNobel to prove to investors that their restructurin...

Italy enjoys best annual economic growth since 2011

Italy posted its best annual economic growth figures since 2011 on Wednesday, its gross domestic product outdoing forecasts to grow year on year by 1.5 per cent.In the first six months of 2017, growth was 1.2 percent, according to the national institut...

S&P says won’t downgrade Brazil credit ratings — for now

International credit rating agency Standard and Poors said Wednesday that it has decided not to downgrade Brazil's sovereign ratings for the time being, but may well do so next year if Latin America's biggest economy does not sufficiently tackle its debt.

S&P Global Ratings said in a statement it had removed Brazil from its CreditWatch list, "where we had placed them with negative implications on May 22, 2017".

Brazil's long-term sovereign debt is currently rated "BB", which is non-investment grade or "junk", but S&P had placed it on a list for possible downgrade after president Michel Temer was nearly ousted in a corruption scandal.

Since then, however, "the political landscape is somewhat more settled as President Temer survived a vote -- by the Federal Electoral Court (TSE) in June and by Congress in August -- related to corruption charges," the rating agency said.

"Meanwhile, the economy appears to have stabilized despite fluid politics, Congress passed a labour reform in July, and the government remains committed to advancing some pension reform," it continued.

Nevertheless, S&P said it would keep the "negative" outlook on Brazil's ratings.

That "reflects ongoing political challenges and the risk of a downgrade over the next six to nine months -- given Brazil's high and rising debt burden -- should Congress fail to advance legislation that begins to reduce Brazil's fiscal rigidities, which hinder deficit reduction and sustained moderation in spending growth," it argued.

Brazil's finance minister, Henrique Meirelles, said Tuesday that the government was raising its deficit ceiling for this year and 2018 because of a big drop in tax revenue, sluggish growth and other woes in Latin America's biggest economy.

UK unemployment rate hits lowest level since 1975

Britain's unemployment rate has struck a new 44-year low, official data showed Wednesday, as the uncertainty of Brexit boosts temporary hirings.The rate dipped to 4.4 percent in the three months to June to record the lowest level since 1975, the Office...