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The daily business briefing: March 7, 2016

Harold Maass
Yana Paskoba/Getty Images
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1.

Oil prices rise as analysts suggest rout is over

Oil prices edged higher early Monday, extending a rally that has lifted prices for the U.S. benchmark crude by 40 percent from February lows. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rose to $36.57 per barrel, up 65 cents from Friday's close. Gary Ross, founder of the New York-based consultancy PIRA and one of the industry's leading prognosticators, said the rally and talk among major OPEC producers of a new $50-per-barrel "anchor" for oil prices could mean the rout is ending.

2.

China plans tax reforms to boost consumer spending

China plans to alter its income-tax system to give families deductions for mortgage interest and child-raising expenses, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said Monday. The reforms are intended to boost domestic consumption as a source of economic growth. Also on Monday, the People's Bank of China reported that China's foreign-exchange reserves fell less than expected last month as China's efforts to stimulate growth and stabilize its currency bore fruit.

3.

BASF considers effort to crash DuPont-Dow merger with counter-bid

Germany's BASF, the world's largest chemicals company, is considering making a counter offer for DuPont Co., which agreed to a merger with Dow Chemical in December, Bloomberg reported Sunday. BASF has not decided whether to try to go ahead with a counter-bid, anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg. Representatives of BASF declined to comment on the "speculation," as did representatives of Dow, a $55 billion chemical company.

4.

Gloomy data from Germany drags down European stocks

European stocks fell Monday, as Germany reported a slight 0.1 percent drop in manufacturing orders. Investors also are cautious ahead of a decision later this week by the European Central Bank on whether to lower interest rates again to stimulate the economy, as expected. The Stoxx Europe 600 gave back its Friday gain of 0.7 percent. U.S. stock futures also pointed to a lower open on Monday.

5.

Email pioneer Ray Tomlinson dies

Ray Tomlinson, considered by many to be the inventor of email as we know it, died over the weekend of a suspected heart attack, his employer, Raytheon, announced Sunday. He was 74. Tomlinson established the first networked electronic mail system in 1971 on ARPANET, the internet's predecessor. He used what would become the standard user@host format. "I am frequently asked why I chose the at sign," he once said, "but the at sign just makes sense." He was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012.

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