The deal gives AbbVie access to Pharmacyclics' cancer drugs portfolio, lessening the Chicago-based company's dependence on its rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira that accounts for most of its sales. The transaction follows AbbVie's failed $55 billion bid to buy Dublin-based Shire Plc last October after the United States took steps to deter tax-lowering deals. Pharmacyclics said earlier it expects sales of Imbruvica, which is approved in more than 40 countries and has U.S. approvals for four forms of blood cancer, to touch $1 billion in the United States this year.
Asian stocks slipped on Thursday after Wall Street continued to pull back from record highs ahead of Friday's closely-watched U.S. jobs data, while the nervous euro languished at an 11-year low prior to the European Central Bank's policy meeting. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.4 percent with Thai, Malaysian and Chinese stocks posting losses. "Foreigners are continuing their buying spree on the back of increased global liquidity after quantitative easing by the ECB," said Lee Kyung-min, economist at Daishin Securities Co in Seoul. Risk asset markets, shored up by liquidity provided by easing-minded central banks around the world, will have a chance to confirm the ECB's easing stance when it holds a policy meeting later in the session.
By David Henry NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc had at least one advantage in its successful bid for the exclusive right to issue credit cards for Costco Wholesale Corp, rivals and tax specialists say: it lost so much money during the financial crisis that it has billions of dollars of tax credits. Citigroup and Costco have not disclosed terms of the deal, and outsiders can only speculate about the reasons Citigroup bid aggressively enough to win the business. They declined to be identified because the negotiations were confidential.
By Koh Gui Qing and Kevin Yao BEIJING (Reuters) - China announced an economic growth target for 2015 of around 7 percent on Thursday and said it would boost government spending, signaling that the lowest rate of expansion for a quarter of a century is the "new normal" for the world's No.2 economy. Speaking at the opening of the country's annual parliamentary meeting, Premier Li Keqiang vowed to fight corruption and pollution, and stressed the need for more painful reforms to put the economy on a more sustainable footing after three decades of breakneck growth. "The downward pressure on China's economy is intensifying," Li told around 3,000 delegates gathered at the Great Hall of the People to the west of Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing. "Deep-seated problems in the country's economic development are becoming more obvious.