By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple has long been a trend-setter whose hot products attract imitators, and now its recent stock split might help revive a trend from the 1990s that has all but disappeared on Wall Street. Apple Inc's move might inspire others, some believe, but only modestly. "It could become a bit of a trend when you see a name like Apple decide to split the stock," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities. Polcari said Priceline Group Inc, the most expensive single stock on the S&P 500, is a prime candidate.
By Natalie Huet and Benjamin Mallet PARIS (Reuters) - Shares of Alstom jumped more than 14 percent on Thursday after a report that U.S. conglomerate General Electric was in talks to buy the struggling French turbine and train maker for about $13 billion. If confirmed, a takeover offer from a foreign company would raise concern among politicians and unions in France, where Alstom employs around 18,000 staff, or 20 percent of its global workforce. A deal could hand GE control of Alstom's high-speed TGV trains and rail-signal technology, and has the support of Bouygues , Alstom's biggest shareholder with a 29 percent stake, the report said. However, one person familiar with the industry said GE's ultimate aim might be to buy Alstom's power business rather than its rail arm - a deal that would leave its transport business as a separate publicly listed company in Paris.
By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Floribeth Mora Diaz does not care if people think she is crazy. She is convinced - and so is the Vatican - that she owes her life to a miracle cure because she prayed to the late Pope John Paul. "I have experienced the mercy of God in my own life and I am grateful," she told a news conference at the Vatican on Thursday explaining what Church investigators believe was a miracle attributed to John Paul's intercession with God. Pope Francis will elevate John Paul to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday at a ceremony expected to draw more than one million people to the Vatican.
By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Nasdaq rose modestly in choppy trade on Thursday as Apple's shares rallied a day after the iPad maker's strong results, though tensions in Ukraine held back the broader market. Caterpillar Inc shares jumped nearly 2 percent and helped limit the Dow's loss after the world's largest maker of earth-moving machinery reported earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations. The three major U.S. stock indexes had opened sharply higher, with the Nasdaq initially climbing more than 1 percent before turning negative in the first half-hour of trading. Wall Street bounced off session lows with gains again concentrated in the Nasdaq, but stocks remained well off earlier highs.
Uruguayans will be able buy up to 10 grams of pot a week, enough to roll 20 joints, under new rules governing the recently legalized marijuana trade in the country, a government source said on Thursday. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because President Jose Mujica has not yet decreed the new regulations, said the government will auction up to six licenses to produce cannabis legally. Uruguay, the first country to legalize the growing and sale of marijuana, is being closely watched by other countries debating drug liberalization. Uruguay has said it is also considering having marijuana grown on a plot of land controlled by the military to avoid illegal trafficking of the crop.
Three Americans were killed on Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity, the latest in a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan. A fourth American was wounded, the Afghan Health Ministry said. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for similar attacks this year, but made no comment about Thursday's shooting. Those killed included a doctor, and a father and son visiting the hospital, Health Minister Suriya Dalil said.
By Toni Clarke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Thursday that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but would not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, which public health advocates say attract children. Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Wells Fargo, said the proposal is "positive for industry." But public health advocates lamented the fact that the proposal does not take aim at e-cigarette advertising or sweetly-flavored products, which they say risk introducing a new generation of young people to conventional cigarettes when little is known about the long-term health impact of the electronic devices. "It's very disappointing because they don't do anything to rein in the wild-west marketing that is targeting kids," said Stanton Glantz, a professor at the Center of Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said at a briefing on Wednesday that the proposal represented the first "foundational" step toward broader restrictions if scientific evidence shows they are needed to protect public health.
By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose slightly on Thursday, as gains in Potash Corp following better-than-expected results and in some heavyweight banks were offset by declines in gold miners. Potash shares rose 1.3 percent to C$38.85 after the world's biggest fertilizer company beat profit expectations in a tough quarter. But that gain was mitigated by slips in major gold miners Barrick Gold - off 0.7 percent at C$19.45 - and Goldcorp Inc , which was down 0.5 percent at C$27.14. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 24.39 points, or 0. ...
(Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue on Thursday, hurt by disappointing sales of its cancer and diabetes drugs, and trimmed its 2014 profit forecast. Lilly said it earned $728 million, or 68 cents per share, in the first quarter. It had profit of $1.55 billion, or $1.42 per share, a year earlier, when Lilly posted special gains from transferring rights to a diabetes drug. Excluding special items, Lilly earned 70 cents per share, matching the average estimate of analysts, as compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue fell 16 percent to ...
By James Topham and Niu Shuping TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) - Three employees at one of Marubeni Corp's grain trading unit in China have been detained, Chinese customs said on Thursday, a move prompted by allegations of tax evasion on soybean imports. The three local staff worked at a Chinese unit of Marubeni's Columbia Grain, Inc, the Japanese trading house and Chinese customs in the port city of Qingdao said. The detentions could add to recent pressure on soybean prices after a wave of soybean cargo defaults in China, where a combination of poor crushing margins and difficulty getting credit has led to a spike in rejected cargoes. U.S. soybean futures hit their lowest since April 14 on Thursday, on concerns about defaults by top buyer China, which buys more than 60 percent of global imports.
By James Topham and Niu Shuping TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) - Three employees at one of Marubeni Corp's grain trading units in China have been detained by authorities, the Japanese trading house said on Thursday, a move industry sources said was prompted by allegations of tax evasion on soy bean imports. The employees worked at a Chinese unit of Marubeni's Columbia Grain, Inc, a spokesman at Marubeni said, adding he did not know why they had been detained. Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said none of the detained staff at the unit were Japanese citizens. The detentions come amid a wave of soybean defaults in China, where a combination of poor crushing margins and difficulty getting credit has led to a spike in rejected cargoes.
Herbalife, a weight loss and nutrition company being investigated for allegations of running a pyramid scheme, disciplined hundreds of distributors last year for making unsubstantiated medical claims about its products, ABC News reported on Wednesday. The network said the company disclosed the internal figures after an ABC News investigation found what it called "numerous examples of distributors boasting to potential customers that the company's products helped treat maladies ranging from diabetes to heart disease." In one case, an ABC reporter posing as a customer caught a Staten Island, New York, distributor on a hidden camera saying a woman overcame a brain tumor after using Herbalife products, the network said. Asked by ABC in a televised report if Herbalife cured brain tumors, Herbalife President Des Walsh said: "Absolutely not. ABC said that since the interview, Herbalife had told the network it disciplined almost 600 distributors last year for making such claims and stripped 12 of their distributorships.