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TOP STORIES

Mood tense before US jobs test, euro nurses losses

LONDON - Investors take to the sidelines as they wait for their monthly fix of U.S. data, while the euro is nursing losses after the European Central Bank opened the door to more aggressive easing, albeit not just yet. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4), moving shortly, by Marc Jones, 825 words)

Fading winter to lift U.S. payrolls, push down jobless rate

WASHINGTON - The U.S. economy likely created jobs at the fastest pace in four months in March as it shifted into a higher gear after being held back by a brutally cold winter. (USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 1), moved, by Lucia Mutikani, 565 words)

+ See also:

- FED-FISHER/GUIDANCE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Michael Flaherty, 615 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 on the central bank to cut interest rates, sending the lira lower, and says he favours keeping a three-term limit for ruling party deputies, suggesting he may run in August presidential polls. (TURKEY-ERDOGAN/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Nick Tattersall and Gulsen Solaker, 700 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

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)

Norway wealth fund should police ethical standards - ministry

OSLO - Norway's $860-billion wealth fund, the world's largest, should take over responsibility for excluding firms that break its ethical guidelines from an independent ethics council, a shift critics have said would undermine the fund's ethical strategy. (NORWAY-OILFUND/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 430 words)

Japan's Kokusai Asset fund knocked from top spot by Fidelity

TOKYO - A global bond fund of Japan's Kokusai Asset Management, which reigns as the top mutual fund in the country for more than 12 years, has been knocked from the position by Fidelity's U.S. high-yield fund as investors become more enthusiastic about chasing higher returns. (JAPAN-FUNDS/, moved, by Chikafumi Hodo, 400 words)

ECONOMY

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, moved, by Huw Jones, 640 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 sales jump nearly 18 pct in March - SMMT

LONDON - British new car registrations in the key month of March leapt 17.7 percent compared with a year earlier, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says. (BRITAIN-AUTOS/SMMT, moved, 100 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

Numericable seen favourite to win SFR as Vivendi meets

PARIS/LONDON - The board of French conglomerate Vivendi meets on Friday afternoon to choose a buyer for its SFR telecom unit, with local cable operator Numericable favourite to win the deal worth roughly 15 billion euros ($20.57 billion). (VIVENDI-SFR/, moved, by Leila Abboud and Sophie Sassard, 700 words)

McDonald's suspends work in Crimea

KIEV - McDonald's has suspended work at its restaurants in Crimea, it says, the second firm to quit the annexed peninsula, prompting a prominent Russian politician to call for the closure of all the U.S. fast food chain's outlets in Russia. (UKRAINE CRISIS/MCDONALDS UPDATE 2), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Alessandra Prentice, 700 words)

Shares in Swedish drugmaker Meda halted on Mylan bid talk

STOCKHOLM - Shares in drugmaker Meda are halted following a report that Mylan Inc is looking to acquire its smaller Swedish rival, in a deal that would create a $23 billion pharmaceutical company and boost its presence in Europe and emerging markets. (MEDA-MYLAN/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 0930 GMT/5.30 AM ET, by Mia Shanley, 600 words)

RBS appoints new finance chief from Credit Suisse

LONDON - Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed a new finance director, poaching Ewen Stevenson from Credit Suisse where he was co-head of investment banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (BRITAIN-RBS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 225 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)

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