LONDON— Britain's national statistics agency says the economy grew faster than previously thought last year. The figures confirm that Britain's economy is one of the fastest-growing among developed nations. Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown, says this is "the latest in a long list of good news stories about the U.K. economy, which is sure to...» Read More
NEW YORK-- Social media will be a big component of a new program announced by Disney Wednesday in which the company's parks in California and Florida will feature weekly surprise themes and events.
BRUSSELS-- The European Union's farmers' union is warning that drought, cold and hail have conspired to produce the worst wine harvest for the region in up to half a century. Farmers union expert Thierry Coste said Wednesday that France's grape harvest is expected to slump by almost 20 percent compared to last year.
ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Ecolab is selling its vehicle care operations to Zep Inc. for about $120 million in cash as part of its strategy to shed non-core businesses. Zep, based in Atlanta, makes cleaning and maintenance products and services for commercial, industrial, institutional and consumer markets.
The International Olympic Committee has signed a deal with U.S. sportswear giant Nike to supply uniforms and products to members and staff. IOC members will wear Nike outfits at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as well as various other meetings and events.
NEW YORK-- Halliburton Co. said Wednesday its third-quarter net income fell 12 percent as drilling activity declined and costs rose in its core North American business. Halliburton is a major provider of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," services that unlock oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits.
NEW YORK-- Bank of America said Wednesday that it narrowly turned a profit from July through September, good enough to beat Wall Street expectations. Profits were hurt largely because of a settlement with shareholders who accused the bank of misleading them when it decided in 2008 to purchase Merrill Lynch.
Strong corporate earnings reports and hopes that Spain may be close to requesting a bailout to alleviate its debt crisis helped oil prices move higher above $92 a barrel on Wednesday. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for November delivery was up 24 cents at $92.33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
LISBON, Portugal-- Portugal managed to raise 1.85 billion in a debt auction Wednesday despite the country's bleak economic prospects and growing political tension over austerity policies.
NEW YORK-- PepsiCo Inc.' s net income dipped 5 percent in the third quarter, as the food and beverage maker poured more money into bolstering its flagship brands and developing new products that position it for the future.
Insurance broker Willis Group Holdings has named McKinsey& Co. senior partner Dominic Casserley its next CEO, starting Jan. 7. The London- based company also said Wednesday that Steve Hearn, 46, will serve as Willis Group deputy CEO.
JERSEY CITY, N.J.-- Knight Capital Group Inc. reported a large loss in its third quarter because of the fallout from a disastrous software glitch. The glitch in Knight Capital's trading software, which occurred in August, flooded the market with erroneous trades. Knight Capital takes orders from big brokers like TD Ameritrade and E-Trade.
AMSTERDAM-- The chief executive of Akzo Nobel, the world's largest maker of paints by sales, will return to work by the end of this year, the company says.
However, rising speculation that Spain will soon ask for help to keep its borrowing costs down continues to shore up European markets, particularly in Madrid. The surprise decision late Tuesday by Moody's to maintain its credit rating on Spain has also helped shore up sentiment.
NEW YORK-- EBay Inc. is expected to post higher third-quarter earnings and revenue Wednesday after the market closes, thanks to strength in its PayPal unit as well as its e-commerce platforms.
Spain is under pressure to tap a eurozone financial aid system that would give the European Central Bank the green light to buy the country's government bonds. That would lower Spain's borrowing rates in bond markets, relieving its financial burden.
WASHINGTON-- Builders likely started construction on more homes in September than August, as many gained confidence in their prospects for sales in the coming months. If the forecast is correct, that would be the fastest pace since October 2008. The Commerce Department will release the report at 8:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday.
BERLIN-- Europe's debt crisis and waning economic growth around the world, particularly in emerging markets, prompted the German government to cut its forecast for growth next year.
HONG KONG-- Hong Kong's anti-corruption watchdog charged a former government secretary with fraud Wednesday over a housing scandal that erupted days after he was appointed by the city's new leader.