Last Update on June 17, 2013 17:12 GMT
(AP) -- The price of oil has edged above $98 a barrel.
Over the past few days, traders have grown increasingly worried over the intensifying civil war in Syria, as President Bashar Assad's forces press ahead with an offensive to regain territory they lost to the rebels.
One analyst in Germany says the U.S. decision to supply arms to the rebels threatens to turn the Syrian conflict into a proxy war between the world powers, with Russia backing the Assad regime.
At the same time, the election of a relative moderate as president in Iran is seen as reducing the risk on further conflict in the Middle East.
Speculation about the upcoming policy decisions of the U.S. Federal Reserve are also keping markets on edge.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for July delivery was up 43 cents to $98.28 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
(AP) -- For the first time in seven years, most U.S. homebuilders are optimistic about home sales, a sign that construction could help drive stronger economic growth in coming months.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index leaped to 52 this month from 44 in May.
A reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index hasn't been that high since April 2006, just before the housing market collapsed.
Measures of customer traffic, current sales conditions and builders' outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months also soared to their highest levels in seven years.
Steady job growth, low mortgage rates, rising home prices and tight supplies of homes for sale have supported a recovery in housing this year.
ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland (AP) -- Talks on a sweeping trade deal between the European Union and the United States will begin next month.
At the G-8 summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, President Barack Obama note that the EU-US trade relationship is the biggest in the world, with roughly the $1 trillion in goods and services exchanged between the two every year.
The head of the EU's executive arm, Jose Manuel Barroso (zhoh-ZAY' man-WEHL' bah-ROH'-zoh), said deal could offer "huge economic benefits" for both sides of the Atlantic.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the trade pact could create 2 million jobs.
Negotiations would focus on lowering tariffs and rules that hinder the trade of goods and services and is seen as a way of promoting new growth and jobs amid an uncertain global recovery.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google has settled a shareholder lawsuit to clear the way for a long-delayed split of the Internet search leader's stock.
The agreement resolves allegations that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin engineered the stock split in a way that unfairly benefits them and shortchanges the rest of the company's shareholders.
The split calls for a new class of stock with no voting power to be issued for each share of an existing category of voting stock. The structure is designed to ensure that Page and Brin retain control over the company.
The settlement will require Google Inc. to compensate owners of the new class of if stock if it's worth less than the existing class of stock after one year of trading.
SUPREME COURT-GENERIC DRUGS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says deals between pharmaceutical corporations and their generic drug competitors, which government officials say keep cheaper forms of medicine off the market, can sometimes be illegal.
The justices voted 5-3 to allow the government to challenge what it calls "pay-for-delay" deals or "reverse settlements." That's when big pharmaceutical corporations pay generic drug competitors to delay releasing their cheaper versions of brand-name drugs.
The Obama administration says these deals profit drug companies, but harm consumers by adding to drug costs. The pharmaceutical companies say they need to preserve revenue from patented products to recover development costs. And both the large companies and the generic makers say the marketing of generics often is hastened by these deals.
Justice Samuel Alito did not take part in the case.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Apple says it received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data between Dec. 1, 2012 and May 31.
The company, like some other businesses, had asked the U.S government to be able to share how many requests it received related to national security and how it handled them.
Apple Inc. said that between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters.
The company also made clear how much access the government has.
Apple says in a statement on its website that "We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order."