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TOP STORIES

U.S. maintains solid job growth pace as winter fades

WASHINGTON - U.S. employers maintains a solid pace of hiring for a second straight month in March, further evidence the economy is shifting into higher gear after being held back by a brutally cold winter. (USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 3), moving shortly, by Lucia Mutikani, 425 words)

+ See also:

- FED-FISHER/GUIDANCE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Michael Flaherty, 615 words

U.S. jobs data boosts stocks, euro nurses losses

LONDON/NEW YORK - The solid pace of U.S. jobs growth pushes up Wall Street stocks futures and the dollar, while signs the ECB is warming to the once-taboo idea of aggressive asset buying leaves the euro nursing losses. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), expect by 1330 GMT/9.30 AM ET, 900 words)

Top investors press Allianz to step up oversight of Pimco

FRANKFURT - Several of the biggest investors in Allianz are pressing the German insurer to step up oversight of its California asset management unit Pimco and one is considering the unusual step of going public with its concerns at a shareholder meeting in May. (ALLIANZ-SHAREHOLDERS/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Kathrin Jones and Jonathan Gould, 1,200 words)

Turkey's Erdogan calls for rate cut, says no early election

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan calls for an emergency interest rate cut, rules out early elections and speaks against the lifting of a Twitter ban, signalling no let-up in his domineering style ahead of an expected August presidential bid. (TURKEY-ERDOGAN/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Nick Tattersall and Gulsen Solaker, 820 words)

+ See also:

- MARKETS-TURKEY/, moved, by Alexandra Hudson and Seda Sezer, 485 words

INSIGHT

After hard winter, US housing industry sees signs of pickup

NEW YORK - In Indianapolis, an open house event tends to draw 10 people on a good day. But after the snowiest winter on record for the U.S. Midwestern city, prospective home buyers were champing at the bit: 45 people came to an open house late last month, according to mortgage executive Greg Block. (USA-HOMESALES/ (INSIGHT), moved, by Lewis Krauskopf and Michelle Conlin, 1,075 words)

INVESTMENT

Cash trickles back into emerging markets

LONDON - Investors are starting to trickle into emerging stocks and bonds after a long hiatus, data from fund tracker EPFR shows, but the unrelenting economic slowdown gripping the developing world is likely to constrain market rallies. (EMERGINGMARKETS-EPFR/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Sujata Rao, 650 words)

Emerging markets recovery may slow reforms

LONDON - A tentative recovery in emerging markets may disappoint long-term investors who had hoped a severe market sell-off would pressure developing governments to implement structural reforms and generate economic growth at home. (EMERGINGMARKETS-REFORMS/ (ANALYSIS), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Natsuko Waki, 800 words)

Costly regulation to force more wealth advisor deals

LONDON - Margin-crimping regulation is helping to drive change across the fragmented UK wealth management industry as many firms sell up, bulk up or look to service just a slice of the country's growing pool of rich folk. (WEALTH-M&A/, expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Joshua Franklin and Simon Jessop, 720 words)

Norway wealth fund to ramp up renewable energy investments

OSLO - Norway's wealth fund should nearly double its investments in renewable energy to a range of $5 billion to $8.3 billion and assess the risk to future returns posed by climate change, the finance ministry says. (NORWAY-OILFUND/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Camilla Knudsen and Nerijus Adomaitis, 565 words)

ECONOMY

McDonald's quits Crimea as fears of trade clash grow

KIEV - McDonald's announces it has closed its restaurants in Crimea, prompting fears of a backlash as a prominent Moscow politician calls for all the U.S. fast food chain's outlets in Russia to be shut.(UKRAINE CRISIS/MCDONALDS UPDATE 2), moved, by Alessandra Prentice, 700 words)

Race for top EU jobs turns murkier before elections

PARIS - The race for the European Union's top leadership jobs just got a little murkier with news that France will put forward outgoing Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici as its nominee for a European Commission post. (EU-ELECTION/COMMISSION, moved, by Paul Taylor, 975 words)

Rise in German industrial orders point to strong Q1

BERLIN - Domestic demand drove a stronger-than-expected 0.6 percent rise in German industrial orders in February, Economy Ministry data show, marking the fourth consecutive monthly gain and underscoring the pickup in Germany's mighty industry. (GERMANY-ORDERS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Sarah Marsh, 360 words)

Bundesbanker tells banks to stop complaining and cooperate

FRANKFURT - Banks should stop complaining about the heavy workload from euro zone-wide checks on their financial health and instead do their share to help clean up the mess they created, a top Bundesbank official says. (BUNDESBANK/BANKS (INTERVIEW), moved, by Eva Taylor and Andreas Framke, 535 words)

BoE's Haldane says big funds can be "too big to fail"

LONDON - The world's $87 trillion asset management industry is getting riskier and echoes some of the "too big to fail" risks already being addressed at banks, Bank of England director of financial stability Andy Haldane says. (BOE-FUNDS/HALDANE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Huw Jones, 560 words)

Leaving buyers club could be Fed's next tricky task

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK - With the wind-down of the Federal Reserve's massive bond buying under way, policymakers are beginning to discuss the next stage - when to allow the U.S. central bank's swollen balance sheet to shrink. (USA-FED/ASSETS (ANALYSIS), moved, by Ann Saphir and Jonathan Spicer, 1,050 words)

UK new car registrations hit highest in a decade in March

LONDON - British new car registrations jump to their highest level in a decade in the key month of March as consumers, buoyed by low interest rates and a strengthening housing market, felt more confident about buying big-ticket items. (BRITAIN-AUTOS/SMMT (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, 200 words)

China growth seen to slow as government takes measures

BEIJING - China's economic growth likely slows in the first quarter, a Reuters poll shows, as the government begins taking steps to boost spending in order to put a floor on growth. (CHINA-ECONOMY/ (PREVIEW), moved, by Adam Rose, 610 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-BANKS/LOANS (UPDATE 2), moved, by Fayen Wong, Lu Jianxin and Gabriel Wildau, 440 words

- CHINA-ECONOMY/SURPLUS (UPDATE 1), moved, 420 words

COMPANIES

Bouygues sweetens SFR bid in attempt to foil Numericable

PARIS/LONDON - France's Bouygues submits a new offer for Vivendi's SFR telecom unit - of 15 billion euros ($20.6 billion) in cash, plus shares - in an effort to get back into the running hours before a decisive Vivendi board meeting. (VIVENDI-SFR/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Leila Abboud and Sophie Sassard, 820 words)

Nestle, Fresenius home in on Danone Medical -sources

LONDON/FRANKFURT - The field of bidders for Danone's Medical Nutrition business has narrowed to German diversified healthcare group Fresenius and Swiss food company Nestle, two people familiar with the process tells Reuters. (DANONE-MEDICAL/BIDDERS (EXCLUSIVE, UPDATE 2), moved, by Anjuli Davies and Andreas Kröner, 400 words)

GSK sacks some China staff for malpractice-source

LONDON - GlaxoSmithKline, facing allegations of bribery in China, has dismissed some employees in the country over failure to comply with expenses rules, a person familiar with the situation says. (GSK-CHINA/, moved, 285 words)

E.ON hires Citi as advisor for Spanish asset sale

MADRID/FRANKFURT - Germany's biggest utility, E.ON, has hired Citi to advise it on the sale of its assets in Spain, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters, in a bid to pull out of weak energy markets in southern Europe. (EON-SPAIN/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 590 words)

Airbus drops behind Boeing in Q1 jet orders

PARIS - Airbus drops behind U.S. rival Boeing in the race for new airplane deals in the first quarter after a pair of wide-body order cancellations, while Boeing finalised a major Canadian sale, company data shows. (AIRBUS-BOEING/, moved, 590 words)

Shares in Swedish drugmaker Meda halted on Mylan bid talk

STOCKHOLM - Shares in drug maker Meda AB are halted following a media report that Mylan Inc is looking to acquire its smaller Swedish rival in a move that will create a $23 billion company. (MEDA-MYLAN/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Mia Shanley, 600 words)

UK's RBS poaches new finance chief from Credit Suisse

LONDON - Royal Bank of Scotland has poached Credit Suisse's Ewen Stevenson for its new finance director, to help restore the health of the part-nationalised bank which lost 8.2 billion pounds last year. (BRITAIN-RBS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Matt Scuffham and Chris Vellacott, 610 words)

+ See also:

- STANCHART-EXECUTIVES/, moved, 180 words

Australia in a fog over ban on branded cigarettes

SYDNEY - More than a year after Australia became the first country to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes, there is little hard evidence to prove the trailblazing move is worth emulating. (AUSTRALIA-TOBACCO/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Jane Wardell, 1,300 words)

Fonterra fined by New Zealand court over botulism food scare

WELLINGTON - Fonterra Ltd has been fined NZ$300,000 ($256,200) for the way it handled the food safety scare about potentially contaminated products and the damage the false alarm has done to New Zealand's reputation for quality dairy products. (FONTERRA-COURT/, moved, by Gyles Beckford, 300 words)

Ghost towns haunt S.Africa's strike-hit platinum belt

MARIKANA, South Africa - Shad Mohammed's electronics and household store in South Africa's platinum belt has survived a series of mining strikes over the 14 years it has been serving customers in the dusty town of Marikana. (SAFRICA-STRIKES/ECONOMY (TV, PICTURE), moved, by Zandi Shabalala and John Mkhize, 955 words)