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TOP STORIES

China stall continues as euro zone business picks up

LONDON/BEIJING - Chinese factory activity shrinks for the fourth straight month in April but private businesses across the euro zone enjoy their best month in nearly three years, business surveys show. (GLOBAL-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP), expect by 1030 GMT/6.30 AM ET, by Jonathan Cable and Kevin Yao, 700 words)

France treads fine line on EU deficit cutting

PARIS - France's government sets out its roadmap to deficit reduction using optimistic growth forecasts considered risky by its own fiscal watchdog to show how it will meet European budget standards by next year. (FRANCE-BUDGET/ (UPDATE 2, PICTURE), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Nicholas Vinocur and Jean-Baptiste Vey, 800 words)

Steady PMIs, sluggish China puts brakes on European shares

LONDON - European shares put the brakes on after three days of gains, as Chinese data showing its economy is still stuttering offset some broadly reassuring European purchasing manager index (PMI) numbers. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4), moved, by Marc Jones, 760 words)

Ericsson sets sights on second half as Q1 falls short

STOCKHOLM - Mobile telecom equipment maker Ericsson expects recent business wins to lift sales later this year, after missing first-quarter sales and profit forecasts due to continued declines in North America and Japan. (ERICSSON/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 0900 GMT/5 AM ET, by Sven Nordenstam, 600 words)

+ See also:

- TELIASONERA/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Simon Johnson, 600 words

INSIGHT

Ethiopia thwarts Egypt over Nile dam but takes risks

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia's bold decision to pay for a huge dam itself has overturned generations of Egyptian control over the Nile's waters, and may help transform one of the world's poorest countries into a regional hydropower hub. (ETHIOPIA-ENERGY/ (INSIGHT), moved, by Aaron Maasho, 1,566 words)

Tariffs strain rich-poor gap in "madly expensive" Luanda

LUANDA - In Luanda's Jumbo supermarket, a half-litre tub of imported vanilla ice-cream used to cost $25, testament to the Angolan capital's rank as one of the world's most expensive cities. (ANGOLA-PRICES/ (PICTURE), moved, by Shrikesh Laxmidas, 1,330 words)

ECONOMY

BoE minutes show "range of views" on economic slack, prices

LONDON - Britain's economic recovery is gaining momentum but Bank of England policymakers hold different views about the amount of slack in the economy and the medium-term inflation outlook, minutes from their April 9 meeting show. (BRITAIN-BOE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 525 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-BORROWING/, moved, 500 words

Japan inflation may have beat BOJ forecast - Kuroda

TOKYO - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says consumer inflation may exceed the central bank's projection in the fiscal year that ended in March, voicing confidence the world's third-largest economy continues to make headway in meeting its price target. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Leika Kihara, 475 words)

China carbon cash party over as U.N. credit stream dries up

BEIJING - Revenues for China's biggest sellers of U.N.-issued carbon credits shrink to a tenth of 2012 values, choking off billions of dollars flowing to clean energy projects in the world's top carbon-emitter. (CHINA-CARBON/, moved, by Stian Reklev and Kathy Chen, 780 words)

Billions needed to upgrade Egypt's grid as crunch looms

CAIRO - Egypt needs to find at least $5 billion to invest in its dilapidated power grid, a government official told Reuters, highlighting a major challenge for the next president as the country faces the risk of worsening blackouts this summer. (EGYPT-ENERGY/POWER, moved, by Maggie Fick, 845 words)

COMPANIES

Pork giant WH Group slashes IPO, seeks up to $1.9 bln

HONG KONG - WH Group Ltd, the world's biggest pork company, has cut its Hong Kong IPO by two thirds as market volatility and rich valuations turned investors off the deal, a revised term sheet seen by Reuters shows. (WH GROUP-IPO/ (UPDATE 4, PICTURE), moved, by Elzio Barreto and Fiona Lau, 700 words)

+ See also:

- LG H&H-ELIZABETH ARDEN/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Se Young Lee, 440 words

Primark growth offsets weak sugar market at AB Foods

LONDON - Associated British Foods met forecasts with a 1 percent rise in first-half profit with a strong performance from its Primark clothing chain and progress in its grocery operation offsetting a major fall in its sugar business. (ABF-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1045 GMT/6.45 AM ET, by James Davey, 650 words)

Alecta spurns VW's offer for Scania shares

STOCKHOLM - Swedish pension firm Alecta says it has chosen not to accept Volkswagen's 200 crown per share offer for the outstanding stock in Scania, saying it did not reflect the long-term value of the truck maker. (SCANIA-ALECTA/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Niklas Pollard and Johannes Hellstrom, 525 words)

Spain's Bankinter Q1 net profit rises on revenue growth

MADRID - Mid-sized Spanish lender Bankinter posts a 19.1 percent rise in first quarter net profit, helped by improving net lending income as the country's banks begin to rally after a deep financial crisis. (BANKINTER-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 345 words)

Chip designer ARM sees pick up in demand in second half

LONDON - ARM Holdings, the British company whose chip technology powers Apple's iPhone, reported a 9 percent rise in first-quarter profit and said its customers were signalling an upturn in demand in the second half. (ARM HOLDINGS/, moved, 115 words)

China's Huawei says NSA spying reports won't impact growth

SHENZHEN, China - China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world's No.2 telecoms equipment maker, shrugs off analysts' concerns that its growth will suffer from media reports alleging the United States accessed servers at its Shenzhen headquarters. (HUAWEI-FORECAST/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Yimou Lee, 610 words)

South African platinum talks resume

JOHANNESBURG - Talks aimed at ending a crippling three-month strike in South Africa's platinum sector resume after the world's top producers and union AMCU spent Tuesday haggling over an offer tabled last week by the companies. (SAFRICA-STRIKES/, moved, by Ed Stoddard, 570 words)

Barrick-Newmont tie-up could spawn rival for Newcrest

SYDNEY - A spinoff by Barrick Gold Corp and Newmont Mining Corp of their combined Asia-Pacific assets will create a rival to Australia's only top-tier gold stock Newcrest Mining Ltd, which has been disappointing investors in recent years. (NEWMONT MINING-OFFER/NEWCREST, moved, by James Regan, 650 words)

New Roche breast cancer drug unaffordable, says UK body

LONDON - A new breast cancer drug from Roche that costs tens of thousands of pounds more than other treatments is unaffordable for Britain's state-run health service, the country's healthcare cost watchdog says. (ROCHEHLDG-BRITAIN/, moved, 270 words)

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