NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Factory activity contracted for the third straight month in China in May and output shrank at the fastest pace in over a year, HSBC flash PMI data show. The preliminary HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 49.1. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of 49.3, slightly stronger than April's final reading 48.9.
- Japanese factory activity expanded in May, although at a modest pace. The Markit/JMMA flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 50.9 in May from a final 49.9 in April. The output index also rose to a preliminary 51.7 in May, after shrinking in April.
- BP (BP) has settled with oilfield services provider Halliburton (HAL) and contract driller Transocean (RIG) cross claims related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst offshore disaster in U.S. history.
- U.K. retail sales increased by much more than forecast in April. Retail sales rose by 1.2% last month from March, vs. expectations of a rise of 0.4%. Year on year, retail sales increased by 4.7%.
- Shares of Goldin Financial, a Hong-Kong-listed provider of short-term finance, fell by more than 50% on Thursday, a day after a high-profile solar panel maker's shares plunged by 47%. Goldin Financial shares fell 58%, wiping $16 billion off its market value, while a smaller company with the same owner, property developer Goldin Properties, fell by 46%. The companies' management said they were not aware of any reasons that could have lead to the huge drops.