Asian stock markets rose today on gains in energy shares and an improvement in Japanese data while European benchmarks drifted lower in early trading. Futures point to a lower opening on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil eased back, falling nearly a dollar to just above $52 a barrel. The dollar fell against the yen and was little changed against the euro.
- LONDON (AP) - A closely watched survey is indicating that the 19-country eurozone economy started 2015 on a far more solid footing than previously thought. Financial information company Markit says its purchasing managers' index, a gauge of business activity, rose to a six-month high of 52.6 in January. Anything above 50 indicates expansion.
- BRUSSELS (AP) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has begun talks with one of his country's main creditors, as the EU awaits a clear signal from the new government on how it plans to pay off its massive debt burden. Tsipras was welcomed today at the European Commission, one of the three main institutions supervising Greece's finances.
- DETROIT (AP) - Ford Motor Co. is moving several hundred U.S. hourly workers into a higher pay bracket after surpassing a cap on the number of lower-wage workers it can hire. Ford said Wednesday that up to 500 workers will transition from an entry-level wage of $19.28 per hour to a top-tier wage of $28.50 per hour over the next two months. Ford will surpass its cap this quarter with the hiring of 1,550 new workers to support pickup truck production.
- TOKYO (AP) - Toyota Motor Corp., the world's No. 1 automaker, raised its earnings forecast today after third quarter profit jumped 14 percent, boosted by a weak yen. Toyota reported a better-than-expected 600 billion yen ($5.1 billion) profit for the three months through December. That beat analysts' forecasts. Quarterly sales of 7.17 trillion yen ($61 billion) were up 9 percent year-on-year.