Greece has won an essential batch of bailout funds from international creditors following an agreement among European regulators and can start looking forward to debt relief in the future.
In a meeting in Brussels that ended before dawn Wednesday, finance ministers from the 19 euro-zone countries approved Greece’s latest austerity and reform measures.
That paved the way for the ministers to also approve the payout of loans worth $11.5 billion to Greece in two installments by October. They also further discussed how to lighten Greece’s debt load.
— Associated Press
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba wowed investors when it went public in the United States in September 2014. Yet its unorthodox business structure has raised eyebrows, it has been suspended from an anti-counterfeiting group and now U.S. regulators are investigating its accounting practices.
Alibaba disclosed in a regulatory filing that the Securities and Exchange Commission has requested documents and information related to the way it adds together earnings from its various divisions, and how it reports transactions with other companies it has a stake in, among other things.
U.S.-traded shares in Alibaba tumbled almost 7 percent in heavy trading Wednesday after news surfaced of the SEC probe.
Alibaba said it is cooperating with the SEC. Agency spokesman Kevin Callahan declined to comment Wednesday.
Alibaba is the world’s biggest e-commerce platform, with more than 420 million people buying $485 billion in goods last year on its sites. Its digital platforms, including Taobao and Tmall, make up 80 percent of Chinese e-commerce.
— Associated Press
● Aetna’s planned acquisition of Humana would be anti-competitive in Missouri for several types of insurance, including individual Medicare Advantage plans where the combined company would have more than a 50 percent market share, the Missouri Department of Insurance said. The agency said in a Tuesday order, which was posted on its website, that if the proposed acquisition were to go forward, the companies would need to stop selling individual insurance, small-group and certain Medicare Advantage plans in its state. Missouri is the first state regulator to release findings against the $33 billion deal announced last year. The plan is being reviewed by the Justice Department, as well as state regulators and antitrust authorities, who are also looking at competitor Anthem’s plan to buy Cigna.
● Citigroup has agreed to pay $425 million to resolve civil charges that it tried to manipulate foreign exchange and interest rate benchmarks. In announcing the settlement Wednesday, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission said Citigroup affiliates also made false reports in connection with ISDAFIX benchmark rates and dollar Libor rates during the financial crisis to protect its reputation. The commission accused Citigroup of trying to manipulate the benchmarks by certain traders putting in false data to benefit their trading positions.
● Google, following its deal earlier this month with Fiat Chrysler on self-driving cars, plans to develop the technology in the home of the U.S. auto industry. The company said Wednesday it will open a self-driving technology development center in Novi, Mich., about 30 miles from downtown Detroit.
— From news services
● 8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims.
● 8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases durable goods for April.
● 10 a.m.: National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for April.