By Shinichi Saoshiro TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian stocks edged up on Wednesday as risk aversion triggered by recent geopolitical tensions continued to ebb, while the euro languished near eight-month lows. Violence continued in Gaza, but hopes rose for an easing of tension in Ukraine after pro-Russian rebels handed the flight recorder and victims' remains from a downed Malaysian airliner to international authorities. The weaker euro dovetailed nicely with expectations for the European Central Bank to ease policy further with a gradual widening of interest rate differentials favoring the U.S. over Europe seen unfolding.
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.
Food safety violations at Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, a supplier to global brands including McDonald's Corp and Yum Brands Inc, were company-led and not the acts of individuals, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the Shanghai food and drug watchdog. McDonald's and KFC's parent Yum, along with a number of other global brands, have been pulled into a food safety scandal in China after it emerged that Shanghai Husi Food, a unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC, had supplied expired meat to clients.
By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said it aims to get its loss-making Nokia phone unit to break even within two years, helping its stock rise in after-hours trade. Microsoft's chief financial officer said in a call with analysts that the company plans to take $1 billion in costs out of the Nokia operation and stop its losses by fiscal 2016 - which ends in June 2016 - following massive job cuts announced last week. "The expense guidance around Nokia was much better than feared," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. "While there is still some heavy lifting ahead, it appears brighter days are on the horizon for Microsoft after a decade of pain and frustration." Microsoft shares hit new 14-year highs over the past week, and were up 1.1 percent at $45.33 after hours.
By Christina Farr SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc's iPad is losing steam just four years after its release, but an alliance with International Business Machines Corp could rejuvenate a flagging product by entering into a largely untapped corporate market. Apple shipped 13.2 million iPads in the June quarter, 8 percent fewer than a year earlier and lagging Wall Street's forecast for 14 million or more. Apple helped create the tablet market in 2010 with its first iPad. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook described iPad sales as "very bifurcated" - they continue to grow at 50 percent or above in emerging markets such as the Middle East and China, but in developed countries like the United States, the "market is weaker." Research firm IDC lowered its forecast for 2014 worldwide tablet demand growth to 12.1 percent - a fraction of the 51.8 percent expansion of 2013.