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HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese stocks plunged today as the start of an IPO wave cooled investor sentiment and Australian shares were flat after the central bank cut interest rates to a record low to stimulate the limping economy. Many Asian stocks slipped while two major Asian markets were closed. European markets gained in early trading. Futures point to opening gains on Wall Street today. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell but remained just under $59 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and the euro.
WASHINGTON (AP) —Some big earnings and economic reports are due out this morning. The Commerce Department will release international trade data for March and the Institute for Supply Management will release its service sector index for April. Also this morning, Freddie Mac and Walt Disney will report their quarterly financial results before the market opens.
PARIS (AP) — Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is meeting top European officials in Paris and Brussels as the cash-strapped country seeks the swift release of delayed bailout money that it needs to keep up with its debt payments. The Greek government is struggling to deliver economic reforms and budget measures demanded by creditors to unlock the remaining 7.2 billion euros ($7.7 billion). Without that money, Greece may run out of cash and decide to leave the euro.
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has nudged up its forecast for economic growth across the 19-country eurozone despite a much gloomier outlook for Greece. In its spring forecast published today, the EU's executive branch says it is predicting 1.5 percent growth for the eurozone in 2015, up 0.2 percentage points from the previous forecast in February. It says there are a number of factors, including lower oil prices, a steady global outlook, the weaker euro, and a central bank stimulus program.
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese regulators will lift price controls on most medical drugs starting June 1 in hopes that a more market-driven pricing system will keep medical costs in check. The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's most powerful regulating agency, says on its official website that it will abandon the decades-long practice of price controls, except for narcotics and some psychiatric drugs. Chinese consumers have long complained of high drug costs.
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