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Slow trading in Europe ... McCormick spices things up ... Shareholders weigh British American, Reynolds tobacco merger

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TOKYO (AP) — Shares meandered in slow trading today in Europe after a day of gains for most Asian stock benchmarks. In early trading, Britain's FTSE 100 was flat and the CAC 40 of France gained 0.1 percent. Germany's DAX lost 0.1 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.1 percent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.6 percent, the Shanghai Composite index added 1.4 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent. Wall Street looks set for a tepid start, with S&P 500 futures up 0.03 percent and Dow futures down 0.04 percent.

LONDON (AP) — U.S. spice maker McCormick & Company has bought Reckitt Benckiser's food business in a $4.2 billion deal. McCormick fought off rival bidders to purchase French's mustard and Frank's RedHot brands. The deal will create a combined group with annual sales of around $5 billion. Reckitt has been re-focusing on consumer health and hygiene products after buying U.S. baby formula maker Mead Johnson.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Shareholders of British American Tobacco and Reynolds American Inc. are scheduled today to decide whether to approve a merger that would create the world's largest publicly traded tobacco company. If approved during separate shareholder votes, the deal is expected to become effective next week.

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will continue to defend the supply management system that protects the Canadian dairy industry in talks about revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement. A U.S. House subcommittee raised the long-standing trade irritant at its hearing on NAFTA negotiations Tuesday, suggesting Canadian measures to protect the industry will be a sticking point. The Trump administration's objectives for a new trade deal include better access for U.S. agricultural exports.

NEW YORK (AP) — A nonprofit disability rights organization has filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber, claiming the ride-hailing service discriminates against New York City riders with disabilities by not providing enough access to vehicles that can accommodate wheelchairs. The lawsuit says although Uber offers wheelchair-accessible vehicles through its UberWAV service, they account for fewer than 100 of the 58,000 Uber vehicles dispatched in the city. Uber says it has nearly 200 wheelchair accessible vehicles currently on the road in the city.

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