IKEA to Revamp App as Store Strategy Shifts

BERLIN —IKEA is launching a new app to allow customers to shop remotely for products they can visualize in the context of their own homes, lessening the need for them to travel to its vast network of self-service, out-of-town stores.

The world’s biggest furniture retailer is shifting its business model away from pushing customers through its suburban stores toward making shopping easier online, and downtown.

“It is a completely new experience,” Barbara Martin Coppola, chief digital officer at IKEA, told Reuters in an interview. “The app is combined with the store experience, with the online experience.” read more

European Stocks Gain on EU Election Relief and Auto Shares Surge

LONDON—European shares climbed on May 27 as investors snapped up automaker stocks following confirmation of merger talks between Fiat Chrysler and Renault, and after pro-EU parties kept a firm grip on power in elections to the European Parliament.

The pan-European STOXX 600 added 0.23% with all major European indices in the black, although trading volumes were thin with markets closed for public holidays in the United States and Britain.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was ahead by 0.06%. read more

Bitcoin Jumps Toward $9,000 in Best-Performing Month Since 2017

Bitcoin jumped as much as 10% on May 27 to almost breach $9,000 as it extended the best one-month rally since before the token’s historic surge in 2017.

The largest cryptocurrency climbed as much as 10% Monday from levels late May 24, and was trading at $8,826, up 8.8%, as of 9:09 a.m. in New York. Rival coins were also stronger at the start of the week. Litecoin added more than 12% while Ether, the second largest digital token, rose 6.8%.

Crypto proponents are taking encouragement from a string of recent headlines showing greater interest in the space from mainstream firms. AT&T Inc. said last week it will permit customers to pay bills with Bitcoin or Bitcoin cash. That followed news that Fidelity Investments was finalizing plans to buy and sell the digital asset for institutional customers. read more

Air New Zealand to Buy Boeing 787–10 Jets Worth $2.7 Billion

Air New Zealand Ltd. agreed to buy eight Boeing Co. 787-10 aircraft, worth $2.7 billion at list prices, to replace and upgrade its long-haul fleet.

The Auckland-based airline also has an option to buy as many as 12 additional 787-10 aircraft, according to a statement released May 27. The company said it has negotiated a “significant discount” to the sticker price of the Dreamliners, which will be powered by GE Aviation’s GEnx-1B engines.

Air New Zealand has been in negotiations to replace a fleet of Boeing 777-200s with newer, more fuel-efficient jetliners capable of flights of more than 12 hours that connect the South Pacific nation with Asia and the Americas. Even as rising fuel costs squeeze profit margins, the airline wants to expand its network further around the Pacific Rim and toward the east coast of the U.S. read more

Oil Rises to $69 as Mideast Tension and Supply Cuts Offset Trade Concerns

LONDON—Oil rose to about $69 a barrel on May 27, supported by Middle East tensions and OPEC-led supply cuts, though concern over the U.S.-China trade dispute and global economy capped gains.

Supply cuts—both voluntary by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, plus those resulting from U.S. sanctions—have helped Brent crude, the global benchmark, rise by about 29 percent this year.

Brent was up 33 cents at $69.02 a barrel by 1334 GMT, having fallen by about 4.5% last week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 30 cents at $58.33. read more

Historic Flooding Predicted Along Arkansas River

FORT SMITH, Ark.—Residents in parts of Arkansas are preparing for what meteorologists have predicted will be the worst flooding in recorded history along parts of the Arkansas River over the coming week.

The National Weather Service said in the statement that levee “over topping” is likely, with “significant impacts to life and property across a very large area.”

The Arkansas River reached 38.2 feet on May 26 near Fort Smith, Arkansas, surpassing the historic crest of 38.1 feet in April 1945. read more

Amazon Facial Recognition Ban Won Just 2% of Shareholder Vote

Amazon.com Inc. shareholders overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that the company stop selling facial recognition technology to government agencies, while a resolution to audit the service drew more support, a regulatory filing on May 24 showed.

Some 2.4% of votes were in favor of the ban. A second proposal that called for a study of the extent to which Amazon’s “Rekognition” service harmed civil rights and privacy garnered 27.5% support.

Amazon’s sale of the technology to law enforcement in Oregon and Florida has put the company at the center of a growing U.S. debate over facial recognition, with critics warning of false matches and arrests and proponents arguing it keeps the public safe. read more

British Airways to Resume Pakistan Flights Next Week After a Decade

ISLAMABAD—British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan next week a decade after it suspended operations following a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart flights to the South Asian country.

BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in the capital Islamabad that took place during a period of devastating Islamist militant violence in Pakistan.

Security has since improved, with militant attacks sharply down in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people, reviving Pakistan as a destination for tourist and investors. read more

Teva Pharm to pay Oklahoma $85 million to settle opioid claims

BOSTON/JERUSALEM—Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said on May 26 it had agreed an $85 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma days before the company was set to face trial over allegations that it and other drugmakers helped to fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Teva, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, said the settlement “does not establish any wrongdoing on the part of the company” and denied contributing to opioid abuse in Oklahoma.

Claims against Teva focused on the branded opioid products Actiq and Fentora as well as generic painkillers it produced. read more

As Trump Slaps Tariffs On China, Africa Creates World’s Largest Free-Trade Zone

As global trade falls off a cliff to levels last seen during the recession, stoking fears about the potential re-run of a period most investors would probably rather forget, a free-trade savior has emerged in an often overlooked corner of the world: The African Union, which has just ratified what will purportedly become the largest free-trade zone by population that the world has ever seen. According to RT, it could boost trade in Africa by as much as 50%.

Trade read more