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TOP STORIES

Credit Suisse escapes worst as pleads guilty to US charges

ZURICH - Credit Suisse becomes the largest bank in 20 years to plead guilty to a U.S. criminal charge, and will pay a $2.5 billion fine to authorities for helping Americans evade taxes, Attorney General Eric Holder says. (CREDITSUISSE-INVESTIGATION/ (UPDATE 6, PICTURE), expect by 0900 GMT/5 AM ET, by Katharina Bart, 1,200 words)

+ See also:

- CREDITSUISSE/TAX-FINE (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by Aruna Viswanatha and Karen Freifeld, 1,140 words

Russia, China yet to clinch agreement on gas supply deal

SHANGHAI - China and Russia have not yet clinched a price agreement on a long-awaited multi-billion dollar gas supply contract, a Russian government official says, amid growing urgency for the Kremlin to seal a deal as it comes under pressure from Western nations over the crisis in Ukraine. (CHINA-RUSSIA/ (UPDATE 1, PICTURE), moved, by Alexei Anishchuk and John Ruwitch, 530 words)

Vodafone lowers 2015 earnings outlook

LONDON - Britain's Vodafone says next year's earnings will be hit by urgent investment in its network as it reports a 6.6 billion-pound dent to its 2014 results from writing down the value of European operations struggling in a tough market. (VODAFONE GROUP/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 0900 GMT/5 AM ET, by Kate Holton, 700 words)

Euro shares, periphery bonds steady after wobbles

LONDON - European shares and southern European bonds make tentative progress, as a growing view that the European Central Bank will launch fresh support in the coming weeks helps counter European elections uncertainty. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/(WRAPUP 4), moving shortly, by Marc Jones, 660 words)

INVESTMENT

Yield-starved investors seek divi income as rally falters

LONDON - Global investors are hunting for reliable dividend payers as they grapple with jittery equity markets and meagre bond yields, marking the revival of an investment style which had been shunned over the previous two years. (GLOBAL-STOCKS/DIVIDEND, expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Francesco Canepa, 630 words)

ECONOMY

UK inflation rises more than expected in April to 1.8 pct

LONDON - British inflation in April rose more than expected from its lowest level in more than four years as the Easter holidays pushed up the cost of travelling, official data shows. (BRITAIN-INFLATION/, moved, 300 words)

China signals green light for local govt bond sales

BEIJING - China's cabinet signals it is closer to letting local governments directly sell bonds for the first time and says it will phase out opaque financing vehicles that are thought to have built up trillions of dollars of high-risk debt. (CHINA-ECONOMY/REFORMS (UPDATE 2, PICTURE), moved, by Aileen Wang and Koh Gui Qing, 655 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-ECONOMY/TRADE (UPDATE 1, PICTURE), moved, by Kevin Yao, 435 words

Norway non-oil growth holds steady, supports rate hike plan

OSLO - Norwegian mainland growth, excluding the vast offshore oil sector, holds steady in the first quarter, confirming the central bank's expectation for moderate but steady progress and supporting its forecast for a rate hike next summer. (NORWAY-GDP/, moved, 295 words)

Egypt turns to army in war on unemployment

CAIRO - Since toppling the Muslim Brotherhood from power last year, the Egyptian army has turned its substantial economic firepower on another perceived threat to the country's stability: unemployment. (EGYPT-ELECTION/UNEMPLOYMENT (PIX), moved, by Shadia Nasralla, 1,000 words)

COMPANIES

Lessons of 2004 show risk to AstraZeneca pipeline hopes

LONDON - AstraZeneca may have seen off Pfizer's $118 billion takeover, at least for now, but lessons from 2004, when the British firm was also trumpeting a strong line-up of new drugs, underscore the risks investors are left facing. (ASTRAZENECA-PFIZER/PIPELINE, expect by 1200 GMT/8 AM ET, by Ben Hirschler, 700 words)

+ See also:

- ASTRAZENECA-PFIZER/COMEBACK (ANALYSIS), moved, by Bill Berkrot, 655 words

U.S. appeals court rejects BP bid to undo oil spill ruling

A U.S. appeals court will not revisit a decision to reject BP Plc's bid to block businesses from recovering money over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, even if those businesses could not trace their economic losses to the disaster. (USA-BP/SPILL (UPDATE 2), moved, by Dan Levine, 280 words)

Deutsche Bank chairman leads battle for the bulge bracket

FRANKFURT - Paul Achleitner, the chairman of Deutsche Bank, believes Europe needs a global investment bank to support the region's companies that can measure up to rivals in the United States. (DEUTSCHE BANK/CHAIRMAN, moved, by Thomas Atkins, 970 words)

M&S sees higher margins as investments start to pay off

LONDON - British retailer Marks & Spencer seeks to placate investors by forecasting higher profitability, lower capital expenditure and possible cash returns, as it reports a third year of falling earnings, hit by its underperforming non-food business. (MARKS SPENCER GRP-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 0930 GMT/5.30 AM ET, by James Davey, 650 words)

Commerzbank nears sale of Spanish property loans -sources

FRANKFURT - Commerzbank is in the final stages of selling a portfolio of Spanish property loans for up to 3.9 billion euros ($5.35 billion) to JP Morgan and private equity firm Lone Star, financial sources say. (COMMERZBANK-SPAIN/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 220 words)

Airbus chief says A380 to match 777X, pans U.S. tax breaks

BERLIN - Airbus will keep evolving the design of its A380 superjumbo in response to Boeing's latest jetliner, the 777X, which has been bolstered by "unacceptable" Washington state subsidies, the head of the European planemaker says. (AIRBUS-BREGIER/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 465 words)

UK's Cobham to buy Aeroflex for $1.46 billion

LONDON - British aerospace and defence supplier Cobham says it will buy U.S. communications equipment maker Aeroflex Holding Corp for $1.46 billion, continuing its quest for more commercial business as its main defence customers cut spending. (COBHAM-AEROFLEX/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 540 words)

Lonmin fires 235 striking S.Africa essential workers -report

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Lonmin has dismissed 235 essential services workers who are on an unsanctioned strike and defied orders to return to their jobs, the Business Report newspaper reports. (SAFRICA-STRIKE/LONMIN, moved, 200 words)

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