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TOP STORIES

Euro zone inflation fall raises challenge for the ECB

BRUSSELS - Euro zone inflation hit its lowest level since November 2009 in March, a shock drop that raises expectations the European Central Bank will take radical action to stop the threat of deflation in the currency bloc. (EUROZONE-INFLATION/ (UPDATE 2, GRAPHIC), moved, by Robin Emmott and Philip Blenkinsop, 655 words)

Mixed reaction to weak euro zone inflation data

LONDON - European stocks trim gains while government bond yields and the euro rise after weak euro zone inflation data cements expectations the European Central Bank will ease policy but also prompts investors to take profit on these bets. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/, moved, by Jamie McGeever, 860 words)

Swiss watchdog opens probe into forex manipulation

ZURICH - Switzerland's competition commission WEKO says it has opened an investigation into several Swiss, British and U.S. banks over potential collusion to manipulate foreign exchange rates. (SWISS-FOREX/INVESTIGATION (UPDATE 3), moving shortly, by Caroline Copley and Patrick Graham, 930 words)

+ See also:

- SWISS-FOREX/INVESTIGATION-EVENTS, moved, by Jamie McGeever, 650 words

- MARKETS-FOREX/VOLATILITY, moved, by Patrick Graham, 650 words

- BANKS-FOREX/FIXING (INTERVIEW), moved, by Patrick Graham, 600 words

- BANKING-BRITAIN/REGULATIONS (UPDATE 1), moved, 450 words

France's Hollande under pressure to roll back reforms

PARIS - President Francois Hollande will make a televised statement on his government as early as Monday, a close ally says, as left-wingers demand an end to pro-business reforms and budget cuts following a local poll rout for his Socialist party. (FRANCE ELECTIONS/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Mark John and Emmanuel Jarry, 730 words)

+ See also:

- FRANCE-BUDGET/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Leigh Thomas, 340 words

INVESTMENT

Investors lift cash to 20-month high as quarter ends

LONDON - The world's top investors lift cash holdings this month to their highest since July 2012 and prune equities, seeking to cut risk at the end of a volatile quarter, a Reuters poll shows. (FUNDS-POLL/GLOBAL (WRAPUP 1), moved, By Natsuko Waki, 475 words)

+ See also:

- FUNDS-POLL/GLOBAL (TABLE), moved, 1,080 words

- FUNDS-POLL/USA, moved, 465 words

- FUNDS-POLL/BRITAIN (POLL), moved, by Jemima Kelly, 395 words

- FUNDS-POLL/EUROPE (POLL), moved, by Natsuko Waki, 395 words

Europe leads the way as global market listings leap

LONDON - Global initial public offerings (IPOs) almost doubled in value in the first quarter of 2014, Thomson Reuters data shows, with Europe leading the way thanks to a nascent economic recovery that lifted investors' confidence and stock markets. (IPO-QUARTERLY-DATA/, moved, by Freya Berry, 630 words)

UK and China to sign yuan trading deal

LONDON - Britain and China will sign an agreement to set up a clearing service for renminbi trading outside Asia, as Britain seeks to cast itself as a key centre of offshore yuan trading. The agreement was expected to be the first of its kind but central banks of Germany and China signed a similar agreement on Friday to facilitate transactions in the Chinese currency in Frankfurt. (BRITAIN-CHINA/YUAN, expected by 1600 GMT/12 PM ET, by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, 600 Words)

ECONOMY

Turkish lira rallies after Erdogan declares poll victory

ISTANBUL - Turkish assets rise after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's party scores a robust victory in local elections seen as a referendum on his rule. (TURKEY-LIRA/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Seda Sezer and Alexandra Hudson, 770 words)

Abe bets he can break Japan sales tax jinx with April 1 rise

TOKYO - Shinzo Abe has already ensured himself a place in Japan's history books with his comeback as prime minister five years after a brief, troubled first term. Now he aims to break another jinx by implementing a sales tax increase, a move that has been the downfall of previous leaders. (JAPAN-TAX/ (PICTURE), moved, By Linda Sieg, 780 words)

+ See also:

- JAPAN-ECONOMY/OUTPUT (UPDATE 2), moved, by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Stanley White, 830 words)

UK mortgage approvals dip, business lending contracts again

LONDON - British mortgage approvals slow in February by more than expected, possibly reflecting bad weather during the month, and business lending contracts again. (BRITAIN-LENDING/, moved, 360 words)

German retail sales unexpectedly jump, point to strong Q1

BERLIN - German retail sales unexpectedly jumps in February, data shows, marking the second consecutive monthly increase and pointing to a strong rise for the quarter that will boost overall growth in Europe's largest economy. (GERMANY-RETAIL/, moved, by Sarah Marsh, 425 words)

Eurogroup head says optimistic on Cyprus recovery

NICOSIA - Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem says he is optimistic that the Cyprus economy could recover from a crisis that rattled the foundations of the euro zone a year ago and pushed the island to the brink of bankruptcy. (EUROZONE-CYPRUS/DIJSSELBLOEM (UPDATE 1), moved, 200 words)

COMPANIES

Britain picks Babcock for 7 bln stg nuclear decommission

LONDON - Britain awards a 14-year, 7-billion-pound ($11.65 billion) contract to manage the decommissioning of its nuclear sites to engineering contractors Babcock and U.S. group Fluor. (BRITAIN-NUCLEAR/CONTRACT (UPDATE 2), moved, by Li-mei Hoang and Brenda Goh, 370 words)

Monte Paschi shareholder sells big stake to LatAm investors

MILAN - The former controlling shareholder in Monte dei Paschi di Siena has sold a 6.5 percent stake in Italy's third-largest bank to two big Latin American funds, another sign of foreign investors' appetite for Italian lenders. (ITALY-BANKS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Silvia Aloisi, 560 words)

+ See also:

- SOCIETEGENERALE-CORRUPTION/LIBYA (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words

Drugmaker GSK to invest $200 mln in African factories, R&D

LONDON - Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline plans to invest up to 130 million pounds ($216 million) in Africa over the next five years as it bets on the importance of the continent in driving long-term demand for medicine. (GSK-AFRICA/, moved, by Ben Hirschler, 520 words)

+ See also:

- ASTRAZENECA-CAMBRIDGE/, moved, by Ben Hirschler, 500 words

- NOVARTIS-HEARTDRUG/STUDY (UPDATE 1), moved, 330 words

Fiat-Chrysler shares rise as company sees boost from merger

TURIN, Italy - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has told shareholders to expect plenty of good news as the completion of a full merger with U.S. unit Chrysler opens greater global opportunities for the world's seventh-largest carmaker. (FIAT-AGM/, moved, by Agnieszka Flak, 450 words)

+ See also:

- INDIA-FUNDS/MARUTI (ANALYSIS), moved, by Himank Sharma, 900 words)

- MITSUBISHIMOTORS-FORD MOTOR/PHILIPPINES (UPDATE 1), moved, by Yoko Kubota, 400 words

Telecoms firms brace for EU "net neutrality" vote

BRUSSELS - European lawmakers will vote on proposals this week that could severely curtail the ability of telecoms operators to mine a potentially lucrative source of revenue - charging content providers more to deliver their services at faster speeds. (EU-TELECOMMUNICATIONS/, moved, by Foo Yun Chee, 566 words)

China's Huawei profit grows on smartphone demand

SHENZHEN/BEIJING - China's Huawei Technologies Ltd, the world's No.2 telecommunications equipment maker, reports its fastest profit growth in four years as expansion in enterprise and consumer revenue far exceeded growth in its network building division. (HUAWEI TECH-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Yimou Lee and Paul Carsten, 350 words)

U.S. top court considers patent protections for software

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court will delve into the hotly contested question of when software is eligible for patent protection. (USA-COURT/IP (PREVIEW), moved, by Lawrence Hurley, 770 words)

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