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(MENAFN - AFP) The new European Commission led by EU veteran Jean-Claude Juncker formally took office Saturday, promising to "get down to work" as Europe faces a host of political and economic challenges.

The agenda is heavy, with Juncker making it his first task to launch a 300 billion euro ($380 billion) investment plan by Christmas to kickstart a faltering economy plagued ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Chinese manufacturing growth slowed in October, the government said on Saturday, as the world's second-largest economy expands at its weakest pace in five years.

China's official purchasing managers index (PMI), a measure of activity in the sector, came in at 50.8 last month, Xinhua news agency quoted the National Bureau of Statistics as saying.

The figure ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Apple Pay, meant to inject momentum into a fragmented market for the emerging mobile payments sector, has instead highlighted the squabbles between retailers and the banking and payments industry.

Since Apple Pay made its debut October 20 for US customers with the iPhone 6, several major retailers have said they would not use it.

That includes number ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Gold tumbled this week to a four-year low and many other commodities also faltered, as the dollar rebounded after the Federal Reserve ended its quantitative easing stimulus.

The euro dived below $1.25 for the first time for more than two years, driven also by speculation that the US central bank could raise borrowing costs sooner than expected.

The European ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Discount retail chain Dollar General extended its nearly $10 billion hostile bid for rival Family Dollar Friday in hopes that Family Dollar's shareholders will vote down its planned merger with another firm.

Dollar General said the $80-a-share offer it made at the beginning of September will remain alive to the end of the year, enough to span Family Dollar's ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Russia's central bank on Friday jacked up its interest rates by 1.5 percentage points to 9.5 percent in a bid to shore up its currency, after Western sanctions over Ukraine sent the ruble plunging and halted growth.

But the biggest rate hike since March failed to stem the ruble's slump as the currency hit a new low of more than 43 rubles to the dollar on Friday ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Friday said Paris was "absolutely determined" to drive economic reforms and that France was not "Europe's sick man".

Valls was visiting the Netherlands for talks with Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte on how to kickstart the continent's economy.

"I want to tell you that we're absolutely determined to carry through our ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) US stocks soared into record territory Friday following the Bank of Japan's surprise stimulus, which spurred a wave of buying in markets around the globe.

Strong earnings from oil and technology companies, and Thursday's buoyant report on US economic growth, underpinned the push by the key Dow and S&P 500 indices to fresh highs, and the Nasdaq Composite ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Hungary's prime minister on Friday shelved plans to introduce an Internet tax that had sparked major demonstrations and further concerns about civil liberties in the EU member state.

Proposed changes to the tax code that would have imposed a new levy on online data transfers "cannot be introduced in its current form," the right-wing Viktor Orban, 51, said in ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) World stocks surged on Friday as the Bank of Japan's surprise stimulus sent investors on a buying spree.

Markets from Asia to Europe ended the week on a positive note, as the BOJ's decision countered the gloom earlier this week caused by the end of the Federal Reserve's massive monetary easing programme.

"Just as the Fed takes away the punch bowl, the ...

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