Strong corporate earnings are keeping stocks higher on Wall Street. The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have all added 0.5 percent or more in afternoon trading. Robust earnings from Nike and Tiffany have been the big drivers.
- Fitch Ratings has placed the United Kingdom's AAA rating on review for a downgrade. The warning comes just days after Britain's treasury chief unveiled an austere budget despite weakness in the economy, raising fears of a third recession. In its warning, Fitch cites forecasts indicating Britain's debt will peak later and at a higher level than previously expected.
- The French government's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy is being radically scaled back after a second legal opinion said the proposed marginal rate of 75 percent was unfair. The Socialist government says the ruling means the rate on those with incomes above $1.3 million cannot exceed 60 percent. The current top tax rate is 41 percent.
- Half the Democrats in the U.S. Senate have voted to repeal part of President Barack Obama's health care law. Last night, the Senate voted 79-20 to repeal a 2.3 percent sales tax on medical devices such as catheters, pacemakers and MRI machines. Thirty-three Democrats joined all 45 Republicans voting for the measure. Republicans are hoping the nonbinding vote signals a new willingness by Democrats to defy the president on unpopular provisions of his signature law.
- Bosch says it is abandoning its solar energy business because there's no way to make it economically viable amid overcapacity and price pressure in the industry. The German engineering company says it will stop making components such as solar cells and wafers at the beginning of next year. It plans to sell a plant in France and is abandoning a plan to build a new plant in Malaysia. The industry has been hit by falling subsidies, weaker sales and increasingly stiff price competition.
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