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(MENAFN - AFP) European stocks slumped Wednesday over worries about upcoming US economic growth data, and before the outcome of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting.

In early afternoon deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 slid 0.28 percent to 7,010.70 points compared with Tuesday's closing level.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index dropped 0.45 percent to 11,758 ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The US economy stalled in the first quarter this year, expanding at an annual pace of just 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

In a period beset by an extremely cold winter and the West Coast port strike, growth was held down by a slowdown in exports, consumer spending, private investment and government spending, the department said.

A ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Spain's second-biggest bank BBVA said Wednesday its first quarter net profit more than doubled in 2015 with a one-off boost from the sale of its stake in China Citic Bank Corp.

The Bilbao-based lender reported a net profit of 1.54 billion euros ($1.68 billion) during the first three months of the year, up from 624 million euros during the same period last year.

Analysts ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Loans to the private sector in the euro area, a gauge of economic health, have started growing again, suggesting the European Central Bank's monetary policy is beginning to work, ECB data showed Wednesday.

After long months of contraction, the volume of loans to private businesses and households increased by 0.1 percent in March compared with the same month ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The World Bank sharply cut its outlook for war-torn Ukraine Wednesday, forecasting its economy will shrink by a massive 7.5 percent this year due to the conflict with pro-Russian separatists.

The international lender lowered its 2015 economic outlook from its previous estimate of a 2.3 percent contraction.

The new forecast is even grimmer than estimates ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The Germanwings crash has left permanent scars on parent airline Lufthansa, its chief executive told shareholders at their annual meeting Wednesday, which started with a minute's silence to honour the dead.

"This tragedy has changed us and the scars that it has left on our company will remain forever," CEO Carsten Spohr told some 2,000 shareholders in the northern ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Russia's gas giant Gazprom on Wednesday reported net profits in 2014 plunged sevenfold over the previous year, weighed down by fallout from the Ukraine crisis and the shrinking value of the ruble.

Gazprom -- which was the most profitable company in the world just a few years ago -- reported 159 billion rubles in net profits last year ($3 billion, 2.8 billion ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) In the tobacco-producing heartland of China -- the world's largest cigarette market -- smoking is commonplace at work, in taxis and even in hospitals.

Snatching a break, construction worker Yao Xinggang takes deep puffs on a cigarette through a traditional-style water pipe.

He has a two-pack-a-day habit, but insists: "It's less harmful to health because ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Swiss-Swedish engineering giant ABB on Wednesday reported better-than-expected first quarter profits despite a stronger US dollar which negatively impacted revenues.

Net profits rose four percent to $564 million (514 million euros), the group said in a statement, adding that big orders had doubled. It also reported strong growth in three key markets -- the ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The World Bank on Wednesday sharply cut its 2015 economic growth forecast for war-torn Ukraine to minus 7.5 percent, darkening the outlook for Kiev as it fights pro-Russian separatists.

The UN development lender lowered its economic outlook for this year from a previous forecast of 2.3 percent contraction, outstripping current estimates by the Ukrainian government ...

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