Vodafone agrees to buy Spain’s Ono for $10 billion

British telecommunications company Vodafone agreed on Monday to buy Spain’s Ono for 7.2 billion euros ($10 billion) as it seeks to expand operations across Europe.

The deal is part of a broader trend of mergers and takeovers in Europe, where the mobile industry is split among some 150 major operators crisscrossing national lines, compared to just four in the United States.

Grupo Corporativo Ono S.A. provides phone, mobile and television services to 1.9 million customers and has the largest “next-generation network” in Spain, reaching 7.2 million homes, or 41 percent of the country. Vodafone says Ono has abundant spare capacity, giving it space to expand.

US homebuilder confidence edges higher in March

U.S. homebuilders’ confidence in the housing market edged higher this month, reflecting improved demand for new homes as the traditional spring home-selling season ramps up.

But the outlook for sales of single-family homes over the next six months dimmed slightly as builders continue to grapple with a shortage of skilled workers, ready-to-build land and rising building materials costs.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday rose to 47. That’s up from February’s reading of 46. Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view sales conditions as poor rather than good.

Eurozone inflation takes surprise fall to 0.7 percent

Pressure on the European Central Bank to do more to prevent prices from falling in the 18-country eurozone ratcheted up Monday after figures showed inflation across the region unexpectedly fell in February to its lowest level since October.

Figures released Monday by the Eurostat statistics agency showed consumer prices were 0.7 percent higher in February than the year before. That was lower than the 0.8 percent initial estimate and took the annual rate down to the level it was in October, which was the lowest level since late 2009.