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TOP STORIES

Alstom CEO says in talks over industrial deal- union sources

PARIS - General Electric is in talks with Alstom to take over its global power business and a deal could be announced in the coming days, two sources familiar with the matter say. (ALSTOM OFFER/GENERAL-ELECTRIC (UPDATE 1), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, 500 words)

Shares, dollar struggle on Ukraine anxiety

LONDON - Heightened tension in Ukraine pushes world shares lower and lifts safe-haven European bonds as well as gold, 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), moved, by Marc Jones, 780 words)

Russia raises rates to curb inflation as Ukraine bites

MOSCOW - Russia unexpectedly raises interest rates for the second time in two months and suffers its first credit rating cut in five years, highlighting the impact of the Ukraine crisis on the economy. (RUSSIA-ECONOMY/RATINGS (UPDATE 3), expect by 1400GMT/ 10 AM ET, by Lidia Kelly and Oksana Kobzeva, 650 words)

+ See also:

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

Top UK investors to file $2 bln claims against RBS - sources

LONDON - Three of Britain's biggest investors are next week expected to file claims in a London court against Royal Bank of Scotland claiming they were misled over its 2008 rights issue and want to claw back more than 1 billion pounds, people familiar with the matter say. (RBS-LAWSUIT/INSURERS (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Steve Slater and Chris Vellacott, 415 words)

+ See also:

- ROYAL BANK SCOT/BONUSES (UPDATE 3), moved, by Matt Scuffham and Chris Vellacott, 755 words

Ford profit weaker-than-expected as warranty costs rise

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co posts lower-than-expected first-quarter profit as the No. 2 U.S. automaker sees higher warranty costs in North America for older vehicles by $400 million. (FORD MOTOR-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ben Klayman and Bernie Woodall, 335 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)

Fed, OCC differ in enforcing leveraged lending guidelines

NEW YORK - Some major U.S. banks are privately complaining that they are getting the short end of the regulatory stick when it comes to the profitable business of lending to heavily indebted companies. (FED-OCC/LEVERAGED LOANS, moved, by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Greg Roumeliotis, 1,200 words)

INVESTMENT

Investors crossing back to emerging debt from high yield

LONDON - Investors are switching their attention back to developing countries' debt after flirting with U.S. and European junk bonds during a year of turbulence in emerging markets. (INVESTMENT-FOCUS/, moved, by Carolyn Cohn, 750 words)

Worldwide M&A activity tops $1 trillion so far this year

LONDON - The value of worldwide mergers and acquisitions announced so far this year has topped $1 trillion, only the third time deal values have surpassed this mark since records began in 1980, weekly Thomson Reuters data shows. (INVESTMENT BANKING ACTIVITY/SURVEY, moved, 150 words)

ECONOMY

UK retail sales stronger than expected in March

LONDON - British retail sales unexpectedly chalk up modest growth in March, bucking weak industry data, in a further sign that the country's consumer-led recovery is bedding in. (BRITAIN-RETAIL/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Andy Bruce and David Milliken, 725 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)

Top economist Bhagwati eyes role in Modi government in India

NEW DELHI - An eminent Indian-born economist positioning himself to advise Narendra Modi if the opposition leader becomes India's next prime minister would urge him to allow more foreign investment and trade to spur slow growth and curtail government spending. (INDIA-ELECTION/ECONOMIST (INTERVIEW), moved, by Frank Jack Daniel, 845 words)

Oil and gas bring UK's Newcastle a manufacturing revival

NEWCASTLE, England - Once the beating heart of European ship building, the north bank of Newcastle's River Tyne is being turned into a manufacturing hub for the oil and gas industry in a bid to combat unemployment and preserve the English city's engineering heritage. (OIL-INDUSTRIALOUTPUT/BRITAIN-NEWCASTLE, moved, by Stephen Eisenhammer, 950 words)

COMPANIES

VW's forecast profit gain seen masking margin troubles

BERLIN - The record earnings which Volkswagen AG is set to report next week may mask more fundamental problems for the German auto maker. (VW-RESULTS/OUTLOOK (PREVIEW), moved, by Andreas Cremer, 985 words)

Colgate-Palmolive profit drops 16 pct

Colgate-Palmolive Co reports a 16 percent drop in quarterly profit, hurt by a one-time charge related to the fall in value of the Venezuelan bolivar. (COLGATEPALMOLIVE-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, by Siddharth Cavale, 415 words)

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's war of attrition, capital out guns labour

JOHANNESBURG - Labour brought a machete to a gunfight with management in South Africa's platinum belt. Small wonder it looks set to lose. South Africa's big platinum strike has highlighted issues ranging from cash reserves to changing market dynamics that have curtailed labour's ability to influence prices. (AFRICA-INVESTMENT/, moved, 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 Britain's North Sea to squeeze extra drops from ageing facilities before rising costs force them to close. (NSEA/PRODUCTIVITY, moved, 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)

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