MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.4 percent. Wall Street shares posted sizeable gains overnight on several strong corporate earnings results and the pan-European Eurofirst 300 index of leading shares climbed to a 14-year high after the European Central Bank affirmed its loose policy stance. “Even if the actual number is in line with expectations, it will be enough to reinforce the view that the U.S. economic slowdown during winter was a temporary one, and thus support the dollar,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, senior strategist at Monex Securities in Tokyo. “If the dollar is to rise, it will gain more against the euro and Australian dollar rather than the yen as Japanese authorities have not exactly welcomed a further weakening,” he said.
By Philip Blenkinsop BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A week on from its World Cup soccer victory, Germany may return to center stage, though this time not with fan celebrations but concerns over the health of Europe's economic motor. “We've seen a delayed impact of China and the Ukraine crisis,” said ING economist Carsten Brzeski. The Ukraine/Russia issue was already there.” In a week relatively light on U.S. indicators, economists are looking for further signs that Europe's recovery and even German growth may be stalling, putting more pressure on the European Central Bank to act. Across the Channel, minutes from the Bank of England may be the last to show unanimous backing for a stable bank rate of 0.5 percent.
By Foo Yun Chee LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – U.S. chipmaker Intel lost on Thursday its challenge against a record 1.06 billion euro ($1.44 billion) European Union fine handed down five years ago, as Europe's second highest court said regulators did not act too harshly. The European Commission in its 2009 decision said Intel tried to thwart rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) by giving rebates to PC makers Dell, Hewlett-Packard Co, NEC and Lenovo for buying most of their computer chips from Intel. The EU competition authority said Intel also paid German retail chain Media Saturn Holding to stock only computers with its chips. Judges at the Luxembourg-based General Court said on Thursday they backed the Commission's decision.
By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) – The euro remained near a two month high and European shares eased on Thursday, as investors waited to see if the European Central Bank will cut rates and hint at more measures to boost struggling eurozone economies. The ECB is expected to react to the recent downturn in even core euro zone countries like Germany by trimming its main interest rate for the first time in 10 months to a new all-time low of 0.5 percent from 0.75 percent in a statement at 1145 GMT (7.45 a.m. ET). But following Wednesday's message from the U.S. …