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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING - Stocks, Oil Higher as -2-

The European Parliament on Tuesday voted its stamp of approval for the two laws-one focused on anticompetitive behavior, the other on content deemed illegal in Europe-after reaching an agreement on them with European Union member states in the spring.


Norway's Government Ends Strike After European Gas Prices Soar

The Norwegian government stepped in to end a strike that threatened to more than halve the country's gas exports, saying it was causing widespread risks to energy security.

Before the strike was halted, a benchmark for gas futures contracts in northwestern Europe rose as much as 14% to EUR172.88, or about $180, a megawatt-hour Tuesday, the highest level since March. Electricity prices across the region also rose, as many power plants run on gas.


Ben & Jerry's Sues Unilever Over Sale of Ice Cream Business in Israel

Ben & Jerry's is suing parent company Unilever PLC to block the sale of its Israeli business to a licensee, the latest twist in a rift over the ice cream maker's decision to end sales in Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested East Jerusalem.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, Ben & Jerry's said Unilever's decision to sell the business in Israel last week was done without the approval of Ben & Jerry's independent board of directors.


U.A.E. Trade Provides Iran With Western Goods, From Perfume to Laptops

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates-Workers crammed dozens of boxes into a wood-hulled dhow before it set sail from a Sharjah jetty, headed across the Persian Gulf for Iran. The cargo: a range of Western products from perfume to hair dryers and laptops.

"We are the Iranian Amazon," said the dhow's captain. "Business is booming."


Israel-Lebanon Maritime Dispute Threatens Gas-Extraction Plans

TEL AVIV-Threats from Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah could stall Israel's plan to deliver natural gas to Europe, Israeli officials said, as Israel's caretaker prime minister pursued help from France to defuse a crisis over its maritime border with Lebanon.

The border dispute risks turning into an armed conflict after Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant and political group that has fought several conflicts with Israel, threatened to take action aimed at stopping work in the Israeli-controlled Karish gas field.


CureVac Sues BioNTech Over mRNA and Covid Vaccines. Pfizer Stock Isn't Spared.

CureVac is suing BioNTech over intellectual property rights linked to mRNA technology, putting the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in the crosshairs.

CureVac (ticker: CVAC) said Tuesday that it had filed a lawsuit in the German regional court in Düsseldorf against BioNTech (BNTX) and two of its subsidiaries. The company said it is seeking fair compensation for the infringement of intellectual property rights that aided in the manufacture and sale of Comirnaty-the ubiquitous Covid-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer (PFE).


NATO Advances Sweden, Finland Toward Membership as Fighting Rages in Eastern Ukraine

Russian artillery pounded Sloviansk, one of Ukraine's last lines of defense to protect the remaining Kyiv-held strongholds in eastern Ukraine, while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday advanced plans to add Sweden and Finland to the alliance.

Vadim Lyakh, the mayor of Sloviansk, reported "massive shelling" of the city in a Facebook post and said the central market was on fire. Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of military administration in the eastern region of Donetsk, said on Telegram that at least two people died and seven were injured.



Food and Energy Inflation Spur New Social Spending Around the World

Governments around the world are rushing to cushion the blow of food and energy inflation, launching new subsidies and boosting social-spending programs to stave off unrest and hunger amid the rising cost of daily living.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are spending a combined nearly $13 billion to support lower-income citizens, while in Europe, governments from Germany to Greece, Spain and Portugal have in recent months announced tax rebates and energy subsidies.


Oil Prices Pulled Lower by Dimming Demand

Slowing demand and recession fears helped bring the benchmark U.S. oil price below $100 a barrel Tuesday, continuing a rapid turnaround from soaring levels in recent months.

Oil prices shot higher earlier this year as war in Ukraine disrupted supply lines and the world-wide postpandemic reopening lifted demand. That move has contributed to the persistent inflation that has gripped major economies in 2022. The growth outlook is darkening as central banks work to get inflation under control by cooling economic activity, pulling down traders' forecasts for oil demand.


Strong Dollar Sends Euro to Lowest in More Than Decade

A flight to the U.S. dollar pushed currencies around the world to their lowest levels in years, as economic prospects in Europe and elsewhere darkened under the cloud of soaring energy prices.

The euro neared a 20-year low against the dollar after natural-gas and electricity prices surged on the continent. Currency traders fear Europe's economy might buckle if Russia completely shuts off natural-gas supplies that are used for heating homes, keeping lights on and running factories. Energy prices were further boosted by labor strikes at Western Europe's largest gas fields in Norway.


U.S. factory orders jump 1.6% in May - but it's not quite as good as it looks

U.S. factory orders jumped 1.6% in May, but the increase was largely tied to petroleum-related products whose prices have risen sharply. A more recent survey of top executives suggests demand might be waning as the economy slows.

The increase in orders exceeded the 0.6% forecast of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. The rise in new orders in April was also raised to 0.7% from 0.3%.


If Luxury Stocks Are a Good Inflation Hedge, Why Is No One Buying?

For the trinkets bought by the rich, inflation is running much hotter than for everyday groceries. Even with that enticing hedge, luxury stocks probably aren't about to fly off the shelf.

Luxury goods have an advantage over other consumer products: When top-end brands charge more, their designs can become more desirable to status-conscious shoppers. This gives the industry a reputation for offering investors inflation protection. Over roughly the last four decades, Forbes' Cost of Living Extremely Well Index, which tracks the price of goods and services such as luxury handbags, expensive watches and real estate management fees, has risen 5% annually, compared with 3% gains in the U.S. consumer-price index.


Accelerating Inflation in Asia Puts Pressure on Central Banks to Raise Rates

Accelerating inflation is rippling through the Asia-Pacific, stoking expectations that policy makers will need to keep ratcheting up borrowing costs to cool climbing prices.

Cautioning that inflation was yet to peak, Australia's central bank on Tuesday raised its interest rate by half a percentage point for the second straight month. The Reserve Bank of Australia increased the official cash rate to 1.35% from 0.85%-adding to June's 0.50 percentage-point hike and a 0.25 percentage-point increase in May-as Gov. Philip Lowe said higher rates would help create a more sustainable balance between supply and demand.


U.N. Atomic Chief Warns of Growing Nuclear Risks

The head of the United Nations nuclear agency gave a sharp warning Tuesday about growing nuclear risks, saying that Iran's activities risked a regional nuclear arms race and that Russia's occupation of Ukrainian nuclear sites threatened to imperil the agency's ability to ensure nuclear material wasn't being misused.

In a wide-ranging speech at the Australian National University in Canberra, Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned that "we are reaching a defining moment for global nuclear nonproliferation," in which the risks of the spread of nuclear weapons "pose a problem for everyone."


Highland Park Parade Shooting Suspect Charged With First-Degree Murder

A 21-year-old man who police said fired more than 70 rounds from a rooftop into a crowd gathered for a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.

The suspect, Robert E. Crimo III, allegedly planned the attack for weeks and dressed as a woman to hide his identity, officials said Tuesday.


CERN's Large Hadron Collider Scientists Reveal New Particle Discovery as Accelerator Research Resumes

The Large Hadron Collider resumed scientific operations on Tuesday after a three-year hiatus for repairs and upgrades, opening a new chapter in physicists' longstanding quest to understand the fundamental building blocks of the universe.

The resumption came shortly after scientists with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN-the international body that operates the collider-announced that earlier research conducted at the facility revealed three previously unknown subatomic particles.


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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 06, 2022 06:26 ET (10:26 GMT)

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