Chinese government officials have made sudden visits to Microsoft Corp offices in China, a spokeswoman for the company said on Monday, but declined to give any reason for the inspections. China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce, which Chinese media reported had made the visits to Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, declined to give comment outside of working hours. Microsoft has been a focus of anti-U.S. technology sentiment in China since U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed widespread spying programs, including PRISM, which used U.S. company's technology for cyber espionage. In an e-mailed statement, the Microsoft spokeswoman said: "We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we're happy to answer the government's questions," but declined to give any further information.
Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary services Purchasing Managers Index was 61.0 in July, unchanged from June and above expectations for a reading of 59.8. A reading above 50 signals expansion in economic activity, and June's reading was the highest final reading since the survey began in October 2009. The services sector continued to add employees, though at a slower pace. "Nonetheless, service sector companies continue to perform strongly against post-recession trends, and overall the latest manufacturing and services PMI surveys suggest that the US economy has enjoyed a strong start to the second half of 2014." Markit's final composite PMI, a weighted average of its manufacturing and services indexes, dipped to 60.9 from June's reading of 61, a level that also represented a record high for a final reading.
By Matt Scuffham and Huw Jones LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Britain's Lloyds Banking Group has agreed to pay fines totaling $370 million to U.S. and British authorities investigating its part in a global interest rate rigging scandal and manipulating fees for a UK government lending scheme. The penalties for Lloyds comprise a 105 million pound ($178 million) fine by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), $105 million by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a $86 million fine by the U.S. Department of Justice. The FCA said there had been routine manipulation of sterling Libor submissions to benefit money market trading positions between September 2006 and June 2009. To avoid negative media comment and market perceptions of its financial strength, Bank of Scotland, which Lloyds later acquired, manipulated Libor submissions as a result of at least two management directives in September and October 2008, the FCA said.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as investors looked ahead to the latest economic data and corporate earnings to give direction to a market near record levels. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 18.43 points, or 0.11 percent, to 16,942.14, the S&P 500 lost 1.31 points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,977.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.30 points, or 0.01 percent, to 4,449.86. (Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Bernadette Baum)