By Lionel Laurent LONDON (Reuters) - European equities edged higher in early trade on Wednesday, extending gains from Tuesday after a batch of positive earnings and U.S. economic data briefly calmed worries over stretched valuations and the pace of economic recovery. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 share index was 0.3 percent higher at 0742 GMT, buoyed by better-than-expected earnings from German automaker Daimler and Dutch paint-and-chemicals firm AkzoNobel. Gains were more muted in Europe - where the pace of economic recovery and the impact of a Russia slowdown have worried investors - than in much of Asia or the United States, where stocks hit fresh milestones and where earnings from bellwethers such as Apple Inc and Verizon topped forecasts. "Geopolitical tensions are preventing a better market development in Europe," said Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit.
By Christina Farr and Edwin Chan SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc posted a smaller-than-expected 6 percent rise in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, but revenue surged 28 percent in greater China despite stiff competition in its third-largest market. It sold 35.2 million iPhones in the June quarter, a rise of about 13 percent that was in line with analysts' projections, helped by a strong performance in an Asian market considered crucial to Apple's longer-term growth prospects. Chief Executive Tim Cook told analysts on a conference call that Apple's Chinese performance was "honestly surprising." Unit iPhone sales jumped about 48 percent and Mac computer sales rose 39 percent in the June quarter, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in an interview. This month, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd estimated April-June operating profit far below most analysts' forecasts, as its Galaxy S5 sold more slowly than expected in the face of severe competition. "We have a really good runway in front of us with China Mobile," Maestri said, referring to Apple's main carrier partner in the world's No. 2 economy.
By Adam Jourdan SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shanghai police said on Wednesday they detained five people in an investigation into a Chinese-based supplier of foreign fast-food brands, including KFC, McDonald's Corp and coffee chain Starbucks Corp, over allegations the firm supplied old and rotten meat. The five detained include the head of the company - Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, a unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC - and the firm's quality manager, the police said in an online statement. McDonald's and Yum Brands Inc, the parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut, and a number of other global brands have pulled products from their outlets after it emerged that Shanghai Husi supplied expired meat to clients in China, as well as Japan. Earlier, the official Xinhua news agency cited the Shanghai food and drug watchdog as saying that food safety violations at Shanghai Husi were company-led rather than the acts of individuals.
By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are expected to adopt rules on Wednesday that force "prime" money market funds used by large institutions to float their share price. Proponents have suggested that moving from the current stable $1 per share net asset value (NAV) to a floating NAV would help prevent investors from getting spooked by the prospect of funds "breaking the buck," or falling lower than that amount. The reform will impact a wide variety of asset managers, from Blackrock Inc, Fidelity and Vanguard to Charles Schwab Corp, Pimco and Federated Investors Inc. The two-pronged reform for the $2.6 trillion industry comes after a long battle between the SEC, the industry and federal banking regulators. The industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have warned that any rules that drastically change the structure of money market funds could cut off a major supply of short-term funding for corporations.