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TOP STORIES

Shell stock jumps as cash flow improves, dividend rises

LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell reports a jump in first-quarter cash flows and a boost in dividends, triggering a jump in the share price as the market cheer the new chief executive's turnaround plan. (SHELL-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 475 words)

BNP Paribas warns bigger-than-expected U.S. fine possible

PARIS - BNP Paribas warns it might be hit with a U.S. fine "far in excess" of the $1.1 billion that France's biggest bank set aside last year to cover litigation costs linked to a potential breach of U.S. sanctions on countries including Iran. (BNP PARIBAS-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 3, TV), moving shortly, by Lionel Laurent and Matthias Blamont, 580 words)

EU's top court rejects UK challenge to trading tax in Europe

BRUSSELS - Europe's highest court rejects Britain's legal challenge to the introduction of a financial transactions tax in Europe, dealing a blow to London's efforts to stop a levy that may hit its trading business. (EU-BRITAIN/FTT (UPDATE 2), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, 300 words)

Euro edges lower ahead of pre-ECB inflation data

LONDON - The euro and the region's government bonds yields inched lower as investors wait on euro zone inflation data, which if weak, will increase the heat on the European Central Bank to cut interest rates next week. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), expect by 1030 GMT/6.30 AM ET, by Marc Jones, 800 words)

EXCLUSIVE

Sanofi explores $7 bln-plus sale of drug portfolio-sources

LONDON/NEW YORK - Sanofi is looking to sell a portfolio of older drugs that could fetch $7-8 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, yet another example of drugmakers trying to shed non-core assets and focus on high-growth areas. (SANOFI-SALE/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Sophie Sassard, Olivia Oran and Soyoung Kim, 500 words)

+ See also:

- ASTRAZENECA PFIZER/CEO, moved, by Ben Hirschler, 400 words

INVESTMENT

Asian bond markets lure Russians, may prove hard sell

LONDON/HONG KONG - Russian companies shut out of Western capital markets are scouting the possibility of raising cash via Chinese "dim sum" bonds or in Singapore dollars, but a funding switch to Asia is likely to prove tough. (RUSSIA-ASIA/BONDS, expect by 1200 GMT/8 AM ET, by Sujata Rao and Michelle Chen, 750 words)

Japan fund managers cut global stocks, favour European bonds

TOKYO - Japanese fund managers cut allocations to stocks and increased those of bonds in their model portfolio in April on concerns about tension in Ukraine and the impact of further reductions of U.S. monetary stimulus, a Reuters poll shows. (FUNDS-POLL/JAPAN, moved, by Hideyuki Sano, 500 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-FUNDS/ (POLL), moved, by David Lin, 400 words

China central bank warns against same-day stock trading

SHANGHAI - The People's Bank of China (PBOC) warns against implementing a same-day trading system for mainland stocks, as securities regulators consider how best to protect retail investors from manipulation by institutional funds. (CHINA-STOCKS/T+0, moved, by Pete Sweeney, 500 words)

Ex-Rothschild banker Yao faces tough Alibaba IPO test

HONG KONG - As Alibaba.com gears itself for a U.S. listing expected to top Facebook's $16 billion IPO, the man guiding the biggest technology IPO process and keeping a tight control on the deal is its top financial adviser, Michael Yao. (ALIBABA-IPO/YAO (NEWSMAKER, PICTURE), moved, by Elzio Barreto, 1,200 words)

ECONOMY

Cold weather seen temporarily slowing U.S. economy

WASHINGTON - U.S. economic growth likely braked sharply in the first quarter due partly to an unusually cold and disruptive winter, but activity already appears to be bouncing back. (USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 1), moved, by Lucia Mutikani, 545 words)

+ See also:

- GLOBAL-ECONOMY/CONFIDENCE-NIELSEN, moved, by Susan Fenton, 620 words

Fed expected to take further step toward ending bond buying

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve is expected to cut its bond-buying programme a further $10 billion as signs mount that the U.S. economy is starting to pull away from its winter slowdown. (USA-FED/ (WRAPUP 1), moved, by Howard Schneider, 650 words)

Spain's economy grows at fastest pace in 6 years

MADRID - Spain's gross domestic product rises at its fastest quarterly pace in six years in the first quarter while inflation accelerates, in the latest sign the country's economy is picking up steam after years of recession. (SPAIN-ECONOMY/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words)

Japan keeps policy steady, sees progress on inflation goal

TOKYO - The Bank of Japan keeps monetary policy steady and lays out projections underscoring its conviction that inflation will head steadily towards its 2 percent target, suggesting no additional stimulus is on the near-term horizon. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Leika Kihara and Stanley White, 670 words)

+ See also:

- JAPAN-ECONOMY/PMI, moved, 300 words

German unemployment falls far more than forecast in April

BERLIN - German unemployment falls for a fifth consecutive month in April, data from the Labour Office shows. (GERMANY-ECONOMY/UNEMPLOYMENT, moved, 100 words)

France caught between nuclear cliff and investment wall

PARIS - France must decide in the next few years whether it wants to continue its nuclear-driven energy policy at a cost of up to 300 billion euros ($415 billion) or if it wants to embark on an equally costly route towards using other fuels. (FRANCE-NUCLEAR/ (ANALYSIS), moved, by Michel Rose, 1,060 words)

COMPANIES

Alstom says to review GE offer for energy business

PARIS - France's Alstom says it will review a binding offer from General Electric for its energy business by the end of May but leaves the door open for a competing bid from Germany's Siemens. (ALSTOM-OFFER/ (UPDATE 3), expect by 1030 GMT/6.30 AM ET, by James Regan and Nicholas Vinocur, 800 words)

Daimler profits up as sales of Mercedes compact cars rise

FRANKFURT - Daimler's adjusted first-quarter operating profit more than doubled thanks to a 14 percent rise in sales of Mercedes-Benz cars, which saw margins shoot up due to a raft of new cars and demand in China and the United States. (DAIMLER-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Edward Taylor, 500 words)

+ See also:

- NORSKHYDRO-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 280 words

Barclays to announce "bad bank" next week -source

British bank Barclays Plc will next week announce the creation of a bad bank portfolio of assets it deems non-core that it intends to sell or run down as part of a streamlining of its investment bank, a person familiar with the matter says. (BARCLAYS/BADBANK (UPDATE 2), moved, by Steve Slater and Richa Naidu, 360 words)

Co-operative Bank downfall blamed on Britannia takeover

LONDON - The root of the problems which led to the near collapse of Britain's Co-operative Bank lay in its 2009 takeover of the Britannia Building Society and poor management controls, an independent review commissioned by the bank concludes. (CO OPERATIVE GRP-BANKING/REVIEW (UPDATE 2), moved, by Matt Scuffham, 400 words)

Spain's BBVA revenues weaken as Latam currencies weigh

MADRID - Spain's second-biggest bank, BBVA, posts lower-than-expected revenues in the first quarter and says depreciating Latin American currencies had hurt earnings, though its key Mexican business reported a rise in profits. (SPAIN-BBVA/RESULTS (UPDATE 1), moved, 350 words)

Oil firm Heritage snapped up by Qatari fund for $1.6 bln

LONDON - British oil company Heritage Oil agrees a 924 million pound ($1.6 billion) takeover offer from a fund owned by the former chief executive of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, in a sign that deal activity amongst oil firms could pick-up. (HERITAGEOIL/MERGERS (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Sarah Young, 590 words)

British American Tobacco volume improves as forex weighs

LONDON - British American Tobacco, the world's No. 2 cigarette maker, posts improved sales volume for the first quarter, though foreign exchange rates are a big drag on revenue. (BRIT AM TOBACCO-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 235 words)

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