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TOP STORIES

AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer's raised bid of $106 bln

LONDON - U.S. drugmaker Pfizer increases its offer for AstraZeneca to 63 billion pounds ($106 billion), but the British company promptly rejects the proposal, which would create the world's biggest pharmaceuticals company. (ASTRAZENECA-PFIZER/ (UPDATE 6), moved, by Ben Hirschler, 940 words)

+ see also:

- ASTRAZENECA-PFIZER/LETTER, moved, 150 words

U.S. payrolls surge, jobless rate hits 5-1/2 year low

WASHINGTON - U.S. job growth increases at its fastest pace in more than two years in April and the unemployment rate dives to a 5-1/2 year low of 6.3 percent, suggesting a sharp rebound in economic activity early in the second quarter. (USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 2), moved, by Lucia Mutikani, 500 words)

Euro zone factory recovery broadens, except for France

LONDON - The recovery in euro zone manufacturing accelerates at the start of the second quarter with solid growth across most of the bloc, although French factories are struggling, a business survey shows. (PMI-MANUFACTURING/EUROZONE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Jonathan Cable, 700 words)

+ See also:

- PMI/BRITAIN, moved, 300 words

Bank of England lays ground to rein in housing boom

LONDON - The Bank of England's starkest warning so far about the boom in British house prices is likely to be followed by early but cautious action, as policymakers test out new powers. (BRITAIN-HOUSING/BOE (ANALYSIS), expect by 1600 GMT/12 PM ET, by David Milliken and Huw Jones, 850 words)

MARKETS & INVESTMENT

Equities may struggle to absorb IPOs

LONDON - The flurry of firms listing on equity indexes are sucking cash from existing listed firms, laying grounds for share price drops if they keep coming and exacerbating concerns given that high flotation volumes usually signal market tops. (MARKETS-EUROPE-STOCKS/(IPOS), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Tricia Wright, 660 words)

Investors pick dollar debt to get back into emerging markets

LONDON - Investors dipping their toes back into emerging markets are choosing hard currency debt as expectations for a stronger dollar and rich yields make the asset class best performer in the developing world this year. (EMERGING-BONDS/ (ANALYSIS), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Natsuko Waki, 800 words)

Broker Boursorama to exit Britain, hitting 2014 net income

PARIS - Boursorama, the online broker controlled by French bank Societe Generale, announces that it is to close its British business and that 2014 group net income would be near zero as a result. (BOURSORAMA-FORECAST/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 220 words)

REUTERS SUMMIT

Bankers see a historic moment as mobile services boom

LONDON - A boom in mobile banking, regulatory change, pressure on costs; bankers are not easily excitable but the rate of change is prompting some to detect a "historic moment" for the industry. (REGULATIONS-SUMMIT/MOBILEPHONE, moved, by Steve Slater, 700 words)

Financial regulators fly blind into murky shadow banking

LONDON - Shining a light on the murky $70 trillion world of "shadow banking" is proving a tough call for regulators handicapped by the lack of basic data, leaving potential risks at large. (REGULATIONS-SHADOWBANKS/, expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Huw Jones, 800 words)

ECONOMY

Euro zone joblessness barely falls in March

BRUSSELS - The number of people out of work in the euro zone fell slightly in March but remains near a record high, a sign that European households are yet to feel the bloc's economic recovery and are unlikely help generate growth in the short term. (EUROZONE-UNEMPLOYMENT/, moved, by Robin Emmott and Anna Nicolaou, 395 words)

Russia-Austria gas deal undermines EU energy policy

LONDON - Russia and Austria's deal to build the disputed South Stream gas pipeline to Austria instead of Italy is a blow to the European Commission as more and more EU member states side with Moscow and against Brussels in securing their energy supplies. (UKRAINE-CRISIS/GAS-GAZPROM (ANALYSIS), expect by expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Henning Gloystein, 1,000 words)

Reuters European Central Bank monetary policy poll

LONDON - Reuters has surveyed around 60 economists for their views on the outlook for euro zone monetary policy ahead of the European Central Bank's Governing Council meeting on May 8. (ECB-RATES/POLL, expect at 1320 GMT/9.20 AM ET, by Sumanta Dey, 600 words)

COMPANIES

UK bank RBS turns corner as first-quarter profit trebles

LONDON - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) trebles its profit in the first quarter, beating analyst expectations and handing a boost to new Chief Executive Ross McEwan as he looks to turn around the government-controlled bank's fortunes. (RBS-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Matt Scuffham and Steve Slater, 970 words)

BASF plans record spend on U.S. plant, lured by shale gas

MANNHEIM - BASF, the world's No.1 chemicals company by sales, says it could spend more than 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) on a U.S. petrochemical plant, joining global peers attracted by cheap shale gas. (BASF-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ludwig Burger, 540 words)

IHG to return $750 mln to shareholders, may sell more hotels

LONDON - InterContinental Hotels Group says it will return $750 million to shareholders and is considering selling off more hotels as it posts its strongest room revenue performance in seven quarters. (IHG-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 340 words)

Hedge funds circle UK bookmakers' vulnerable shares

LONDON - Hedge funds are gambling on profiting from further falls in the share prices of British bookmakers who face increased taxes on two fronts and curbs on how they run their high street betting shops. (MARKETS-BRITAIN/BOOKMAKERS, expect by 1430 GMT/1030 AM ET, by Atul Prakash, 800 words)

Twitter stock slumps as Goldman, Deutsche still say `buy'

Twitter Inc investors who heeded the advice of high-profile banks such as Goldman Sachs Group and Deutsche Bank to buy the social media company's shares might be kicking themselves. (TWITTER-STOCKS/ (ANALYSIS), moved, by Supantha Mukherjee and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, 1,040 words)

Implats says most miners want to end platinum strike

JOHANNESBURG - Impala Platinum says that two thirds of its striking workers have indicated by text messages and phone calls that they want to accept the company's latest wage offer and end South Africa's longest and most costly mining strike. (SAFRICA-STRIKES/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Ed Stoddard, 775 words)

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