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Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:04am EDT

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TOP STORIES

Shares, dollar struggle on Ukraine anxiety

LONDON - Heightened tension in Ukraine pushes world shares lower and lifts safe-haven European bonds, taking the shine off what looks set to be an earnings and M&A-driven week of gains for European and U.S. stocks. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 6), expect by 1030 GMT/6.30 AM ET, by Marc Jones, 600 words)

S&P cuts Russia's ratings, warns of possible further cut

MOSCOW - Credit agency Standard & Poor's cut Russia's foreign currency sovereign ratings in a move that underscores risks from President Vladimir Putin's policy of intervention in Ukraine. (RUSSIA-ECONOMY/RATINGS (UPDATE 2), moved, by Lidia Kelly and Oksana Kobzeva, 430 words)

+ See also:

- UKRAINE-CRISIS/USA-SANCTIONS (EXCLUSIVE, UPDATE 1), moved, by Arshad Mohammed, 710 words

French govt plans to meet GE on Alstom future

PARIS - France's government weighs into the furore over the future of the country's struggling engineering group Alstom and the stock market regulator forces a suspension of trading in its shares pending a company statement. (ALSTOM OFFER/BOARD (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words)

RBS says government body to reject any 2:1 bonus proposal

LONDON - The body reponsible for managing Britain's stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland will block any resolution proposing the lender pays out bonuses of up to 200 percent of fixed pay, the bank says. (ROYAL BANK SCOT/BONUSES (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Matt Scuffham and Clare Hutchison, 360 words)

+ See also:

- ASTRAZENECA-PAY/, moved, 245 words

INSIGHT

Push for tax-avoidance curbs threatens Publicis-Omnicom deal

LONDON - International pressure to curb corporate tax avoidance is behind delays to a $35 billion merger of French advertising group Publicis and U.S. rival Omnicom, and could even scupper the deal, tax advisers and sources close to the deal says. (OMNICOM GROUP-PUBLICIS GROUPE/TAX (INSIGHT), moved, by Tom Bergin and Pamela Barbaglia, 1,050 words)

INVESTMENT

Crossing back to emerging market debt from high yield

LONDON - After flirting with high-yield debt in recent months, investors without great loyalties to any sector are returning to increasingly attractive emerging market debt. (INVESTMENT-FOCUS/, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Carolyn Cohn, 750 words)

ECONOMY

UK retail sales stronger than expected in March

LONDON - British retail sales edge up unexpectedly in March, official data shows, suggesting consumers are still at the forefront of Britain's strong economic recovery. (BRITAIN RETAIL/, moved, 300 words)

Obama wraps up Japan visit but no trade deal

TOKYO - U.S. President Barack Obama wraps up a state visit to Japan during which he assured America's ally that Washington will come to its defence, but fails to clinch a trade deal key to both his "pivot" to Asia and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic reforms. (JAPAN-USA/ (WRAPUP 2, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Linda Sieg and Matt Spetalnick, 910 words)

Tokyo inflation hits 22-year high, inching toward BOJ goal

TOKYO - Tokyo's inflation jumps to a 22-year high in April by a key measure, an early sign that companies are making progress in passing on a new tax increase to customers as policy makers seek to pull Japan out of years of deflation. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/CPI (UPDATE 2), moved, by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Leika Kihara, 775 words)

Asian economic growth to languish this year, China the worry

BANGALORE - Growth in emerging Asian countries will be lacklustre this year and contribute less to the global economy, despite signs of recovery in the region's major trading partners in the West, Reuters polls shows. (ECONOMY-ASIA/POLL (WRAPUP), moved, by Sumanta Dey and Rahul Karunakar, 585 words)

SNB says Swiss franc cap remains key policy tool

ZURICH - The Swiss National Bank's cap on the franc remains its chief monetary policy tool in light of the currency's ongoing strength, the bank's chairman says. (SNB/, moved, 360 words)

COMPANIES

Allergan approached Shire about bid but rebuffed - sources

NEW YORK - Allergan Inc approached Shire Plc in recent months about a possible takeover but was rebuffed, according to people familiar with the matter, in the latest example of a U.S. drugmaker seeking to buy an overseas rival to lower its tax rate. (SHIRE ALLERGAN/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Olivia Oran, Soyoung Kim and Nadia Damouni, 600 words)

In platinum war, capital has labour over a barrel

JOHANNESBURG - Labour brought a machete to a gun fight with capital on South Africa's platinum belt. Small wonder it looks set to lose, as the companies' financial situation is one of many advantages they have over workers in a one-sided contest. (AFRICA-INVESTMENT/, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Ed Stoddard, 850 words)

+ See also:

- SAFRICA-STRIKES/AMCU, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, 500 words

Oil firms sweat ageing N. Sea assets to stave off shutdowns

LONDON - Smaller oil producers are teaming up with engineering and oil services companies in the UK's North Sea to squeeze extra drops from ageing facilities before rising costs force platforms to shut down (NSEA/PRODUCTIVITY, expect by 1200 GMT/8 AM ET, by Claire Milhench, 850 words)

+ See also:

- NESTEOIL-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 260 words

WPP thumps forecasts with strong Q1 organic growth

LONDON - WPP, the world's largest advertising group, reported a much better than expected 7 percent rise in first quarter like-for-like revenue growth and said it had seen a surge in new client wins due to changes in the industry. (WPP-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 385 words)

SEB Q1 profits beat forecast, but warns on Ukraine

STOCKHOLM - Swedish banking group SEB reports a bigger-than-expected rise in first-quarter operating profit on the back of strong commission income but sounded a warning over a potential spillover of problems in Ukraine. (SEB/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 310 words)

Volvo raises North America outlook after Q1 profit rise

STOCKHOLM - World number two truck maker Volvo raises its outlook for the North American market after posting an expected rise in quarterly earnings as firmer demand in its main markets offset lingering costs for a vast renewal of its model range. (VOLVO/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Niklas Pollard and Johannes Hellstrom, 440 words)

China's big pork IPO brought low by blunders and bad luck

HONG KONG - On the face of it, an IPO for WH Group, the world's biggest pork company, should have been an easy sell. China has huge and growing demand for pork and WH Group, a company created when China's largest meat processing firm acquired the world's biggest hog producer Smithfield Foods Inc, is well placed to deliver growth in what is still a highly fragmented market. (WH GROUP-IPO/ (DEALTALK, PICTURE), moved, by Elzio Barreto, 1,100 words)