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Samsung Posts Disappointing Earnings Forecast for Q2

Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest technology firm by revenue, on Friday fueled concerns about flagging demand for high-end smartphones with a weaker-than-expected earnings forecast for the second quarter.

The South Korean giant forecast of 9.5 trillion won ($8.3 billion) in operating profit for the April-June quarter would be a record. But analysts had expected a figure of more than 10 trillion won, and shares in the firm lost more than three percent in afternoon trade.

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Panasonic Closes Hungary Solar Plant, Cuts 550 Jobs

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said Friday it will close its only European solar cell plant in Hungary, resulting in the loss of 550 jobs.

The assembly factory in the city of Dorog will end production in September before its official closure in March, a Panasonic spokeswoman in Tokyo said.

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Greece Near Deal for EU-IMF Bailout Payment

Greece's reform minister said on Thursday that the indebted country was close to a deal with its EU-IMF creditors on cutting state jobs which would clear the way for the next bailout installment.

"We will definitely be ready on Monday," Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters after the end of a meeting between representatives of Greece's international creditors, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

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Pakistan Seeks $5.3bn IMF Loan to Boost Growth

Pakistan on Thursday asked the International Monetary Fund for a $5.3 billion, three-year loan to boost growth in a bid to rebuild foreign exchange reserves, an energy crisis and a sliding currency.

The move comes just weeks after the new government was sworn into office after winning May elections that provided Pakistan with its first ever democratic transition of power.

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Vatican Posts Surplus but Donations Drop

The Vatican has posted a 2.2 million euro ($2.85 million) budget surplus for 2012, an improvement from the previous year and some good news as it struggles to cope with a scandal involving its embattled bank.

In its annual financial statement Thursday, the Holy See said better management had helped it recover from one of its worst deficits a year earlier, when it booked a 14.9 million euro shortfall.

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Bank of England Keeps Stimulus Program Unchanged

The Bank of England has opted to refrain from pumping more money into the UK economy in its first meeting since new Governor Mark Carney's arrival.

The Monetary Policy Committee kept interest rates at 0.5 percent Thursday and decided against expanding its stimulus program.

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Nestle Cuts China Infant Formula Prices amid Probe

Nestle SA says it will cut infant formula prices in China by an average of 11 percent starting Monday amid an investigation into alleged price-fixing by several foreign companies.

The price cuts by the company's Wyeth Nutrition unit will be maintained through 2014, and the prices of some products will be cut by up to 20 percent, Nestle spokesman Jonathan Dong said in an email Thursday.

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Report Italian Police Probe more Vatican Bank Transfers

Italian police have found 13 suspicious money transfers through the Vatican bank, a newspaper said Tuesday, reporting that a senior cleric arrested last week allegedly offered his own accounts to transfer money for his friends.

The Corriere della Sera daily said that the suspect operations which have triggered money laundering controls totalled more than 1.0 million euros ($1.3 million) and were similar to a larger 23-million-euro transfer that led to an investigation that is shaking up the bank.

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Report: Abu Dhabi to Invest $50bn in India Infrastructure

Abu Dhabi has promised to invest $50 billion in India's cash-hungry infrastructure at a time when growth in Asia's third-largest economy has sharply slowed, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The pledge by Abu Dhabi was the key factor in pushing New Delhi to approve a bilateral deal to increase flights between the two countries, an Indian official told the Indian Express.

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Merkel Hosts Leaders to Fight Youth Unemployment

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts European leaders on Wednesday in a bid to tackle sky-high youth unemployment which has left more than half of under 25-year-olds out of work in several southern countries of the eurozone.

Merkel, who faces elections this year, has repeatedly warned of the threat of a "lost generation" in Greece, Spain, Italy and elsewhere even as her critics at home and abroad charge that it is her push for austerity that worsened the crisis.

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