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Last Update on July 22, 2014 09:43 GMT

WORLD MARKETS

TOKYO (AP) -- International stock markets rose today as tensions over the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine eased after pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the aircraft's black boxes.

Some investors fear Western governments, already alarmed by Russia's support for rebels in Ukraine's east, might toughen economic sanctions over the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines last week with 298 people aboard.

The conciliatory moves by the rebels came as European Union foreign ministers were due to meet today to discuss such penalties.

Benchmark crude oil rose above $103 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.

THE DAY AHEAD

CPI, existing home sale reports due Tuesday

WASHINGTON -- Investors will have plenty to mull today, including a key government-released economic indicator.

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics will issue the Consumer Price Index for June later this morning. Also, the National Association of Realtors will put out its report on existing home sales for June, and on Capitol Hill the Senate Finance Committee holds a public hearing on possible changes in tax laws.

In Switzerland, Credit Suisse, the second-largest bank behind UBS, reports its second-quarter results before the opening of trading in Zurich. And at home, a significant group of earnings reports is ready, including the one from Apple Inc., and also reports from Dupont, Comcast Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., Coca-Cola Co., McDonald's Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

CHINA-IMAX

Imax, Shanghai Film to open 19 screens in China

Imax is set to go big in China.

Imax Corp. and Shanghai Film Corp., China's biggest state-owned film exhibitor, are teaming up to open 19 giant screen cinemas in the world's No. 2 movie market.

No financial terms were disclosed. Shanghai Film already operates three Chinese Imax theatres.

Box office revenues in China surged 27 percent last year to $3.6 billion, making the country a crucial market for international film companies.

Government policies aimed at encouraging growth of Imax and 3-D movies are helping boost the format's popularity in China's tightly controlled film market.

CHINA-SUSPECT MEAT

BEIJING (AP) -- Starbucks and Burger King are getting dragged into the scandal over suspect meat in China.

The issue has also spread to Japan where McDonald's says the Chinese supplier accused of selling expired beef and chicken had provided 20 percent of the meat for its chicken nuggets.

Chinese authorities are expanding their investigation of the meat supplier, Shanghai company Husi Food Co. A day after Husi's food processing plant in Shanghai was sealed by the China Food and Drug Administration, the agency says inspectors will also look at facilities and meat sources in five provinces in central, eastern and southern China.

The agency says food safety violations will be "severely punished."

The scandal surrounding Husi Food, which is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois, has added to a string of safety scares in China over milk, medicines and other goods that have left the public wary of dairies, restaurants and other suppliers.

WAL-MART-BACK-TO-SCHOOL

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is intensifying the price game for the crucial back-to-school shopping season.

The world's largest retailer has cut prices on 10 percent on more back-to-school items compared with last year, signaling that the second-most important shopping season behind the winter holidays will be fiercely competitive. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer also said that it's increasing the number of back-to-school products sold on its website by 30 percent to 75,000 this year from last year.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Steve Bratspies, executive vice president, general merchandise at Wal-Mart, said he's seeing back-to-school promotions start early this year. He expects that its low-income shoppers will stagger their buying throughout the season, a trend it has seen in the last few years. A little over 300 back-to-school items will have what Wal-Mart refers to as "rollbacks" or discounts.

NETFLIX EARNINGS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Second-quarter earnings for Netflix more than doubled as new episodes from a hit series helped the Internet video service surpass 50 million worldwide subscribers for the first time.

The gains announced Monday include an additional 570,000 U.S. subscribers, slightly more than Netflix's management predicted. The quarter is typically the company's slowest of the year, as people spend more time outdoors instead of watching video.

Investors applauded the second-quarter results, pushing Netflix's stock up $4.05 to $456 in extended trading. The shares have surged by 23 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has increased 7 percent. The second quarter featured one of Netflix's marquee attractions, "Orange Is The New Black," which returned for its second season in early June. As with Netflix's other original series, all 13 episodes of "Orange Is The New Black," were released simultaneously so subscribers could watch the story unfold at their leisure.

TOBACCO-LAWSUIT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A federal judge says the Food and Drug Administration can't use an advisory panel's 2011 report on menthol cigarettes because its members had conflicts of interest.

While the FDA has since conducted an independent review on the public health impact of menthol cigarettes, Monday's ruling could hinder the agency's ability to defend any future regulations.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington ordered the agency Monday to reconstitute the tobacco panel and barred it from using its older report on menthol cigarettes.

Cigarette makers Lorillard Inc. and Reynolds American Inc. sued the agency in 2011, alleging conflicts of interest and bias by several members of the panel tasked with advising the FDA on tobacco-related issues.

Only one of the members challenged in the suit remains on the committee.

JOHNSON & JOHNSON-BUYBACK

J&J buying back $5 billion worth of its shares

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- Johnson & Johnson, the world's biggest maker of health care products, plans to buy back up to $5 billion of the company's common stock.

The maker of prescription drugs, medical devices and Tylenol said Monday that its board of directors had approved the stock buyback program. The company says in a statement that the program has no time limit and could be discontinued at any time.

Johnson & Johnson's shares have risen strongly over the past two years, from about $68 to a July 7 all-time closing high of $106.47. They ended Monday down 53 cents to $101.27 and were up 75 cents at $102.02 in after-market trading following the announcement of the buyback program.

Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said it has about 2.8 billion stock shares outstanding.

PENNSYLVANIA-BOND RATING

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Pennsylvania received its third bond downgrade in two years Monday. It happened after Gov. Tom Corbett signed a budget that papers over a massive deficit with stopgaps and failed to win passage of legislation to rein in a rising public pension debt.

New York-based credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service dropped Pennsylvania's $11.1 billion of general obligation bonds a rung on its rating ladder, from Aa2 to Aa3, leaving it ranked among the six worst states in Moody's ratings for the 47 states with general obligation debt.

It was the second downgrade by Moody's in two years. Fitch Ratings downgraded Pennsylvania last year, and Standard & Poor's has warned it could downgrade Pennsylvania if it didn't see significant strides to address deficits and pension liabilities.

YAHOO-FLURRY

NEW YORK (AP) -- Yahoo is buying Flurry Inc., a startup that helps other programmers build better mobile applications and craft marketing campaigns for smartphones and tablets.

The deal announced Monday is the latest in a wave of mostly small acquisitions that Yahoo Inc. has made during the two-year reign of CEO Marissa Mayer as the company's tries to attract more traffic on mobile devices.

The shopping spree hasn't yet provided Yahoo with the means to boost its revenue growth at a time more advertising is moving to online services. The Sunnyvale, California, company last week disclosed another lackluster performance in the April-June period.

Yahoo didn't disclose how much it is paying for Flurry, an indication that the price isn't big enough to affect Yahoo's finances.

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