- Apple (AAPL) posted the largest profit in corporate history, due to record sales of its big-screen iPhone and a 70% increase in sales in China. Profit of $18 billion in its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 27 was the biggest ever reported by a public company, worldwide, according to S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt. Fiscal first-quarter earnings per share came in at $3.06 vs. the $2.60 expectations and rose 48% year over year.
- Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) has signed a deal with Iraq worth $11 billion to build a petrochemicals plant in the southern oil hub of Basra, Industry Minister Nasser al-Esawi said on Wednesday.
- China plans to cut its growth target to around 7% this year, its lowest goal in 11 years, sources quoted by Reuters said. Policymakers try to manage slowing growth, job creation and pursuing reforms intended to make the economy more driven by market forces.
- The Chinese renminbi broke into the five most-used currencies in the world, according to data from Swift quoted by the FT. The other four currencies are the yen, the British pound, the euro and the dollar. Of these, the Chinese currency is the only one that is not fully convertible.
- Low energy prices have boosted German consumer confidence, a monthly survey by GfK shows. The monthly survey by the GfK market research group suggests consumer confidence in Europe's largest economy will rise to 9.3 points in February, the highest level since a 9.6 point level in November 2001, from 9.0 points in January.
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