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TOP STORIES

Draghi says weaker inflation could prompt ECB asset-buying

AMSTERDAM - European Central Bank President Mario Draghi gives his clearest indication yet that the ECB could print money to buy assets if inflation slows, and identifies a rise in the euro as a potential trigger for action. (ECB/DRAGHI (UPDATE 2) moved, by Thomas Escritt, 670 words)

Tech earnings put bounce into global stock markets

LONDON - Global stocks are back on the front foot on, as upbeat earnings from tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook help shake off some of the concerns about overheating that have dented the sector in recent weeks. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), moved, by Marc Jones, 800 words)

Barclays chairman defends bonuses against shareholders

LONDON - Barclays Chairman David Walker defends pay levels at the bank, telling shareholders it needed to raise bonuses to stop an exodus of senior executives. (BARCLAYS-AGM/PAY (UPDATE 2), moved, by Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham, 500 words)

Alstom shares jump on report of GE bid

PARIS - Shares in Alstom jump more than 14 percent after a report that U.S. conglomerate General Electric is in talks to buy the struggling French turbine and train maker for about $13 billion. (ALSTOM OFFER/GENERAL ELECTRIC (UPDATE 3), moved, by Natalie Huet, 700 words)

INVESTMENT

Russia-themed mutual funds hammered as sanctions fears mount

LONDON - Fears Russia could retreat into autarky as international sanctions bite in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, driving Russia-themed funds to the bottom of performance league tables this year. (RUSSIA/FUNDS, moved, by Chris Vellacott, 800 words)

ECONOMY

Ifo rises as Ukraine has little effect on German business

BERLIN - German firms shrug off concerns about tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, helping the Ifo business climate index to a surprise increase in April and signalling that Europe's largest economy is on track for firm growth this year. (GERMANY IFO/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Annika Breidthardt, 400 words)

All at sea: global shipping fleet exposed to hacking threat

SINGAPORE - The next hacker playground: the open seas - and the oil tankers and container vessels that ship 90 percent of the goods moved around the planet. In this internet age, as more devices are hooked up online, so they become more vulnerable to attack. As industries like maritime and energy connect ships, containers and rigs to computer networks, they expose weaknesses that hackers can exploit. (TECH-CYBERSECURITY/SHIPPING, moved, by Jeremy Wagstaff, 1,550 words)

COMPANIES

AstraZeneca flags cancer advances, silent on Pfizer bid talk

LONDON - AstraZeneca announces faster-than-expected progress of its experimental cancer drugs and plans to spin off billions of dollars of non-core assets as it stakes a claim for independence following reports of bid interest from Pfizer. (ASTRAZENECA/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Ben Hirschler, 480 words)

GM posts lower profit after recall; truck pricing strong

DETROIT - General Motors says that first-quarter profit tumbled 88 percent after a massive recall due to defective ignition switches, but results still top expectations on strong pricing for its redesigned pickup trucks in North America. (GM RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ben Klayman and Bernie Woodall, 400 words)

Spain's Caixa, Sabadell signal turnaround over bad debts

MADRID - Spain's Caixabank and Sabadell report bad debts fell slightly in the first quarter, signalling the start of a more marked turnaround for the country's banks after a deep financial crisis. (SPAIN-BANKS/RESULTS, moved, by Sarah White and Jesus Aguado, 800 words)

Slim to build Telekom Austria into European player

VIENNA - Carlos Slim plans to use Telekom Austria as a base to build a European telecoms network after sealing an eleventh-hour deal with the Austrian state to take control of the company. (TELEKOM AUSTRIA-SLIM/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Georgina Prodhan, 600 words)

Blood transfusion unit sale boosts Q1 Novartis profit

ZURICH - Two days after announcing a radical overhaul of its business, Novartis posts a 24 percent jump in first-quarter profit boosted by an exceptional gain from the sale of its blood transfusion test unit. (NOVARTIS-RESULTS (UPDATE 2), moved, by Caroline Copley, 600 words)

Pernod sees Chinese weakness lasting through 2014

PARIS - French spirits maker Pernod Ricard expects the situation in China, where its sales sank 28 percent in the third quarter, to stay difficult through 2014, while it buys premium wine maker Kenwood Vineyards in the United States. (PERNOD-SALES/UPDATE 2), moved, by Dominique Vidalon, 700 words)

Wage talks resume as S.Africa platinum strike in 13th week

JOHANNESBURG - Marathon talks aimed at ending a crippling three-month strike in South Africa's platinum sector resume as the world's top producers and the union haggle over an offer tabled last week by the companies. (SAFRICA-STRIKES/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ed Stoddard, 640 words)

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