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(MENAFN - AFP) The US economy grew at its fastest pace in four years in 2014, outpacing all of the other major developed countries as consumers gained confidence helped by sinking oil prices.

But a slowdown in the fourth quarter bared some of the persistent challenges -- like the strong dollar -- to locking the world's largest economy into higher gear.

While the halving ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Oil prices surged by nearly $4 a barrel in late trade Friday, rebounding from six-year lows on month-end covering and signs the industry is quickly tightening exploration activities.

After a day trading slightly higher, around the $45 level, the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery suddenly rocketed to more than $48.

At the end ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) An American food critic has put France's famed restaurant bible, the Michelin guide, to the test -- and found most of its top Paris listings not worth their exorbitant prices, with lesser-known upstart eateries offering far better value.

Meg Zimbeck, who runs Paris By Mouth, a respected online review site that also provides foodie tours to English-speaking ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

The couple in their 50s began feeling sick days after returning home in westernmost British Columbia province.

Tests confirmed the first human case of H7N9 bird flu in North ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Brazil on Friday posted its first budget deficit in 12 years -- more bad news for an economy already battling high inflation and facing deep spending cuts.

The central Bank released data showing a public sector primary deficit equal to 0.63 percent of gross domestic product in 2014.

It marks the first time that the figure has been in the red since 2002, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Wall Street stocks Friday finished a volatile week sharply lower following a disappointing US economic growth report and worrisome data on eurozone inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 251.90 points (1.45 percent) to 17,164.95.

The broad-based S&P 500 sank 26.26 (1.30 percent) to 1,994.99, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Oil giant Shell revised down Friday its 2014 net profit, after uncovering an error in the value of its downstream operations one day after posting annual results.

Shell announced in a new statement that annual net profits fell nine percent to $14.874 billion (13.17 billion euros) last year compared with 2013, hit by collapsing global oil prices.

The Anglo-Dutch ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The US government is getting more than $41 billion from an auction of wireless spectrum, highlighting surging demand for new devices that connect to the Internet, officials said Friday.

The Federal Communications Commission, which revised down its estimate from $45 billion, said the auction that ended Thursday raised the highest amount ever for this type of ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Spain returned to growth in 2014 after a six-year slump, official data showed Friday, but the recovery is far from being felt as one in five Spaniards is still unemployed.

The eurozone's fourth-largest expanded by 1.4 percent last year after contracting by 1.2 percent in 2013, according to provisional figures from the National Statistics Office.

It is ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Shake Shack, a hamburger chain that prides itself on fresh ingredients and good service, soared Friday in its first day of trade on Wall Street.

Near 1740 GMT, shares of the restaurant chain were at $48.24 on the New York Stock Exchange, up 129.7 percent from its initial public offering (IPO) price of $21. Shares got as high as $52.50 earlier in the session.

The ...

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