*Deal in Geneva offers hope of end to Ukraine crisis. *Russia sought assurances on rights for east Ukraine. WASHINGTON/ GENEVA, April 18- The agreement designed to pull Ukraine back from the brink of civil war had been floundering around lunchtime on Thursday, so U.S.» Read More
LONDON-- Luxury fashion house Burberry PLC, which issued a profit warning last month, says retail sales growth slowed in the second quarter as demand weakened in Britain and China. The company said sales at stores open more than a year rose 1 percent in the three months to Sept. 30, compared with 6 percent in the previous quarter.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday that financial reforms and other actions in response to the global crisis are yielding results, helping the U.S. economy to grow at a pace better than there was reason to expect.
As well as citing the deepening economic recession in Spain and rising levels of social discontent, the agency said the government's hesitation in requesting help was "potentially raising the risks to Spain's rating."
Late Wednesday, Standard& Poor's cut its rating on Spain's debt by two notches to BBB-, leaving the country on the cusp of junk status. The agency argued that the government's "hesitation" in requesting help was "potentially raising the risks to Spain's rating."
Royal Dutch Shell PLC long argued that the case, which was launched in 2008, should be heard in Nigeria and still maintains the Dutch court should not have jurisdiction. Four villagers and environmental group Friends of the Earth say Shell pipeline leaks fouled fish ponds, farmland and forests in three villages in the Niger Delta, Goi, Oruma and Ikot Ada Udo.
WASHINGTON-- Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is promising to get tough on China to help American workers, but his plans could backfire. Romney is pledging, on his first day in office, to designate China a currency manipulator, a step no administration has taken against any country for 18 years.
CINCINNATI-- As Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic battled for the title at the Western& Southern Open north of Cincinnati, a small plane buzzed overhead, trailing a banner calling the sponsor a bunch of bullies.
PARIS-- Big box retailer Carrefour SA says revenue was up modestly in third quarter, driven by strong sales in its convenience stores and booming regions like Asia and Latin America. Recessions in Spain and Italy weighed on the company's performance in Europe, where sales slipped 2.2 percent.
The price of oil rose above $92 a barrel Thursday as growing tensions between Turkey and Syria caused worries about the future of Middle East crude supplies. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for November delivery was up 90 cents to $92.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The U.S. government said China has subsidized companies that are flooding the U.S. with low-cost panels. Both U.S. and China- based solar companies gained in afternoon trading. However, another big gainer was Canadian Solar Inc., which has operations in both the U.S. and China. Its shares rose 15 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $2.78.
Dean Foods Co. shares fell Thursday after a UBS analyst downgraded his rating on the company's shares, expressing concern about rising dairy prices. THE BIG PICTURE: Dean Foods is one of the nation's largest dairy processors and milk distributors.
ELLISVILLE, Miss.-- GE Aviation will begin taking applications Nov. 5 for its new Ellisville, Miss., composites factory. The unit of General Electric Co. made the announcement Thursday as Gov. General Electric says it's investing $56 million in the Ellisville plant to meet growing aerospace demand.
MARTINSVILLE, Va.-- Titanium production is under way at RTI International Metals Inc.' s new $135 million plant in Martinsville, Va.. Pittsburgh- based RTI says the plant produced its first certified commercial aerospace titanium product on Thursday.
NEW YORK-- The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined financial services firm Guggenheim Securities LLC $800,000 for failing to supervise two former traders who tried to hide a 2008 trading loss. Guggenheim Securities, Rekeda and Day neither admitted nor denied the charges but consented to FINRA's findings.
The New York attorney general sued JPMorgan Chase over the risky mortgage-backed securities once peddled by Bear Stearns, which JPMorgan now owns. Bank of America and Citi denied wrongdoing but said they were agreeing to settle because they wanted to move on. JPMorgan and Wells Fargo have said they will contest their pending charges.
ZAGREB, Croatia-- Sweden has offered eight Saab Gripen fighters to Croatia to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-made MiG-21 combat aircraft, Croatia's defense ministry said Thursday. NATO- member Croatia has six MiG-21s in its air force.
NEW YORK-- Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is making an unsolicited bid for truck maker Oshkosh Corp. that values the company at almost $3 billion. He says management has taken a passive attitude toward the Wisconsin- based company's future and wants it to be more active. Its shares gained $3.40, or 12.7 percent, to $30.25 in midday trading.
NEW YORK-- Oscar winner Octavia Spencer is looking to make some magic in the book world. The actress best known for "The Help" has a deal with Simon& Schuster Books for Young Readers for a pair of detective novels for middle school students.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-- The federal Agriculture Department has slightly lowered its corn production forecast for South Dakota. Officials forecast the crop at just under 503 million bushels, down 1 percent from September and down 23 percent from last year.
NEW YORK-- Higher One's stock declined more than 7 percent Thursday as Piper Jaffray cut its rating and price target for the college payment services company, saying its 2012 and 2013 forecasts are at risk due to challenging enrollment trends.