June 17, 2014 / 9:07 AM / 3 years ago

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TOP STORIES

M&A talk lifts stocks, Iraq tensions ease slightly

LONDON - Another bout of merger and acquisition fever gave European stocks a shot in the arm, while commodity and emerging market investors breathed a sigh of relief that there was no obvious deepening of the crisis in Iraq overnight. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4), moving shortly, by Jamie McGeever, 735 words)

GE aims to fend off rival bid by negotiating terms with French gov’t -source

General Electric wants to avoid a bidding war with Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries over Alstom, but it is talking to the French government about potentially changing non-price terms of the bid, a person close to GE told Reuters. (ALSTOM-SIEMENS/OFFER-GENERAL ELECTRIC, moved, 320 words)

Shell to sell most of stake in Australia’s Woodside for $5.7 bln

MELBOURNE - Royal Dutch Shell launches a long-anticipated sale of most of its stake in Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd, looking to reap about $5.7 billion as it moves to focus on developing its own gas assets in Australia. (WOODSIDE-SHELL/BUYBACK (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Sonali Paul, 650 words)

EU legal opinion says exemption for UK bank rules from EU curbs “illegal”

LONDON - Exempting Britain’s banks from planned European Union rules to curb risky trading will be illegal, the bloc’s lawyers say in a legal opinion that marks another setback for UK attempts to limit Brussels’ influence on the City. (BANKS-BRITAIN/EU, moved, by Huw Jones, 625 words)

ECONOMY

UK inflation falls to 4-1/2 year low in May as food prices fall

LONDON - British inflation falls more sharply than expected to 4-1/2 year low in May, as food prices fall and as the effects of a late Easter on travel costs fade away, official data shows. (BRITAIN INFLATION/, moved, 300 words)

China May FDI falls by most in 16 months as economy slows

BEIJING - The amount of new foreign investment that China attracted in May shrank by the most in 16 months, hurt partly by its cooling economy, though the trade ministry said the outlook may be brightening for exporters. (CHINA-ECONOMY/FDI (UPDATE 1), moved, by Aileen Wang and Koh Gui Qing, 700 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-BONDS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 550 words

Reuters monthly long-term economic poll

LONDON - Reuters has surveyed more than 100 economists on the economic outlook for the United States and the euro zone, future monetary policy options and risks to recovery. The results will be published at 1320 GMT/9.20 AM ET. (ECONOMY-POLL/EUROZONE, by Rahul Karunakar, 600 words)

+ See also:

- ECONOMY-POLL/USA, by Lucia Mutikani, 600 words

Swiss govt cuts economic growth forecasts for 2014, 2015

ZURICH - The Swiss government cut its economic growth forecasts for this year and next, citing a sluggish outlook for exports as slow growth in the European Union, Switzerland’s main trading partner, dents demand for Swiss goods. (SWISS ECONOMY/FORECASTS (UPDATE 1), moved, 400 words)

Italy April world trade surplus widens y/y on rising exports, falling imports

Italy posts a trade surplus with the rest of the world of 3.505 billion euros in April, widening from a surplus of 2.006 billion euros in the same month of 2013, data shows, as exports increased and imports fall. (ITALY-ECONOMY/TRADE, moved, 100 words)

China won’t allow FTZs to flourish everywhere - Xinhua

SHANGHAI - China will allow free trade zones to be established only if they can be replicated elsewhere in the country, a senior commerce ministry official tells the state news agency Xinhua. (CHINA-FTZ/, moved, 200 words)

Singapore’s disappointing May exports darken trade outlook

SINGAPORE - Singapore’s exports unexpectedly fall in May on weak shipments of electronics and pharmaceuticals to its key markets, data shows, indicating the city-state may not be benefiting yet from a recovery in developed economies. (SINGAPORE-ECONOMY/EXPORTS (UPDATE 1), moved, by Jongwoo Cheon, 550 words)

Gulf’s billions insulate economies, markets from Iraq turmoil

DUBAI - For years, the rich oil states of the Gulf have struggled to insulate themselves from political turbulence in the rest of their volatile region. Markets’ reaction to the insurgency in Iraq suggest they may finally have succeeded. (IRAQ-MIDEAST/MARKETS, moved, by Andrew Torchia, 920 words)

COMPANIES

Shire hires Citi as braces for takeover bids-sources

LONDON - London-listed drugmaker Shire has hired investment bank Citi as an adviser, expecting to receive takeover approaches following a wave of deals in the healthcare sector, sources familiar with the matter tells Reuters. (SHIRE-MERGERS/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Sophie Sassard and Anjuli Davies, 740 words)

New World China shareholders reject NWD’s $2.4 bln privatisation bid

HONG KONG - New World China Land Ltd says its shareholders have rejected its controlling shareholder New World Development’s (NWD) HK$18.6 billion ($2.40 billion) offer to take the company private. (NEW WORLD CHINA-NEW WORLD DEV/, moved, 250 words)

British insurer RSA to sell Asia unit in up to $500 mln deal -sources

HONG KONG - RSA Insurance Group Ltd, Britain’s largest non-life insurer, is looking to sell its Asian operations in an auction that could fetch up to $500 million and draw a wide range of suitors, people familiar with the sale process tell Reuters. (RSA INS GRP-ASIA/SALE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Denny Thomas, 500 words)

SoftBank targets $980 mln US operating profit in FY14 - Nikkei

TOKYO - Japan’s SoftBank Corp aims for its U.S. business to return to the black in the current fiscal year with an operating profit of about 100 billion yen ($980 million), the Nikkei business daily reports. (SOFTBANK-RESULTS/USA, moved, 100 words)

+ See also:

- SOFTBANK-TMOBILE/, moved, 100 words

US banks seen falling short of new debt funding rule

WASHINGTON - Wells Fargo, State Street and JPMorgan Chase & Co are below or almost at minimum capital thresholds expected to be included in a rule still being hammered out by U.S. regulators that’s meant to mitigate taxpayer losses in another financial crisis, according to a Reuters analysis. (USA-BANKS/DEBT (ANALYSIS), moved, by Douwe Miedema, 1,075 words)

Indian regulator has it all to prove in insider probe

MUMBAI - The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) hopes it will achieve a high-profile bust after accusing Hong Kong-based multi-asset fund Factorial Capital Management Ltd of shorting L&T Finance Holdings Ltd using information allegedly leaked by bankers on a cut-price share offering. (INDIA-INSIDERTRADING/, moved, by Himank Sharma, 850 words)

For Africa and its entrepreneurs, credit bureaus the path to growth

LUSAKA/LAGOS - When Joyce Musonda wanted to start a business two years ago selling kitchen tiles from her backyard in an up-and-coming district of Zambia’s capital of Lusaka, she braced herself for a battle to find a start-up loan. (AFRICA-CREDIT/, moved, by David Dolan and Chris Mfula, 785 words)

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