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TOP STORIES

World stocks inch towards all-time high

LONDON - World shares are within touching distance of an all-time high, spurred on by the near perfect combination of record low global interest rates and the improving health of major economies. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/(WRAPUP 5), expect by 1200 GMT/8 AM ET, by Marc Jones, 700 words)

Monte Paschi launches 5-bln euro rights issue

MILAN - Bailed-out Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena is launching a 5-billion-euro ($6.9 billion euros) share issue aimed at repaying state aid and bolstering its balance sheet in light of a pan-European review of lenders. (MONTEPASCHI/ (UPDATE 1), expect by 1100 GMT/7 AM ET, by Silvia Aloisi, 600 words)

Lloyds prices TSB stock market listing below book value

LONDON - Lloyds Banking Group says it will sell a quarter of its shares in TSB, through a listing on the London stock market priced at below the business's book value. (LLOYDS-TSB/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Matt Scuffham, 665 words)

Politics poses biggest risk to euro zone endurance

PARIS - With the euro zone bond market back to irrational exuberance and economic growth returning slowly if unevenly, politics rather than economics now poses the biggest threat to the long-term endurance of Europe's single currency. (EUROZONE/POLITICS (ANALYSIS), moved, by Paul Taylor, 940 words)

INSIGHT

Britain a haven for U.S. companies keen to cut tax bills

LONDON - Nothing about the narrow cream-coloured lobby at 160 Aldersgate Street in the City of London financial district gives a hint of its role at the centre of the offshore oil industry. (BRITAIN-USA/TAX, moved, by Tom Bergin, 1,565 words)

INVESTMENT

Exploiting the ECB-Fed policy gap

LONDON - If it wasn't fully apparent before Thursday, it's crystal clear now: the central banks of the euro zone and United States, the two most powerful monetary authorities in the world, are moving in opposite directions. (INVESTMENT-BONDS/CENBANK, moved, by Jamie McGeever and John Geddie, 840 words)

Malaysia eases rules on foreign funds, corporate bonds

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak announce steps to liberalize the country's financial sector, removing barriers faced by foreign-owned fund managers and easing ratings requirements for the corporate bond market. (MALAYSIA/FINANCIAL (UPDATE 1), moved, by Yantoultra Ngui and Stuart Grudgings, 450 words)

China reforms favour stock pickers over index trackers

HONG KONG - Contrary to trends in the West, actively managed stock funds in China are set to become more popular with foreign investors, as moves to open up Chinese markets should give stock pickers an edge over poor performing index trackers. (CHINA-FUNDS/, moved, by Nishant Kumar, 750 words)

ECONOMY

Investors look to China and US after ECB fights prices risk

BRUSSELS - This week's light calendar gives investors room to digest the European Central Bank's radical moves to avert deflation and look beyond U.S. data which, in more normal times, might imply higher interest rates. (ECONOMY/GLOBAL, moved, by Martin Santa, 810 words)

Euro zone Sentix index unexpectedly falls

BERLIN - Sentiment in the euro zone unexpectedly falls in June with investors unimpressed by the European Central Bank's package of measures to kickstart growth, the Sentix index survey shows. (EUROZONE-SENTIX/, moved, 415 words)

Japan's economy picks up speed on unexpected surge in capex

TOKYO - Japan's first quarter growth handily beat initial estimates on an unexpected surge in capital spending, fresh signs the world's third-biggest economy is in better shape to weather a hit to consumption from a sales tax hike. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/GDP (UPDATE 2, GRAPHIC), moved, by Leika Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto, 800 words)

+ See also:

- JAPAN-ECONOMY/TAX (UPDATE 1), moved, by Tetsushi Kajimoto, 500 words

Indian government sets out investor-friendly reform agenda

NEW DELHI - India's new government will pursue a broad economic reform agenda focused on job creation through public and private investment that also makes containing inflation its top priority. (INDIA-POLITICS (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Frank Jack Daniel, 650 words)

Worry plagues commodity finance trade after Chinese probe

QINGDAO, China/SINGAPORE - Basic questions have begun to play on the minds of traders and bankers doing business in the world's largest raw material importer, after an investigation began at Qingdao Port, a huge trading hub in the northeast, into whether more than one licence had been issued against the same material. (CHINA-QINGDAO/TRADE (PICTURES), moved, by Fayen Wong and Manolo Serapio Jr, 1,100 words)

OPEC's output ills mean its job is done, for now

VIENNA - It has been a long time since oil consuming countries waited for an OPEC meeting in trepidation. The biggest consumer, the United States, appears to care less than others, bolstered by its own oil boom, and OPEC itself seems relaxed - despite huge production problems. (OPEC/PREVIEW, moved, 830 words)

Optimism among British manufacturers rises further - survey

LONDON - More British manufacturers are optimistic about their growth prospects over the next three months than at any time since the early days of the financial crisis, a survey shows. (BRITAIN-MANUFACTURERS/SURVEY, moved, 205 words)

COMPANIES

Spain's Gas Natural sells telecom affiliate to Cinven

LONDON/MADRID - Spanish utility Gas Natural says it has agreed to sell its telecommunications affiliate to European private equity firm Cinven for 510 million euros ($694.4 million). (GASNATURAL-CINVEN/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 200 words)

Tyson wins bidding war for Hillshire in U.S. - source

Tyson Foods Inc prevails over Pilgrim's Pride Corp in a bidding war for Jimmy Dean sausage maker Hillshire Brands Co, according to a person familiar with the matter. (TYSON-HILLSHIRE BRANDS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 250 words)

S.Africa mining union, platinum firms set for strike talks

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's AMCU union and major platinum producers are set to meet for more talks aimed at ending a crippling five-month strike, with the government threatening to pull out of mediation if a deal is not agreed. (SAFRICA-STRIKE/(PIX, TV), expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Zandi Shabalala and Joe Brock, 650 words)

Nestle wants bigger piece of high-end chocolate

ZURICH/LONDON - Nestle's chief executive, who oversees a sprawling empire stretching from baby food to wrinkle treatment, admits to finding one of its oldest businesses, chocolate, a source of frustration. (FOOD-NESTLECHOCOLATE/ (PICTURE), moved, by Silke Koltrowitz and Martinne Geller, 905 words)

Kjell Inge Roekke, Norway's gigantomaniac tycoon

OSLO - He is the self-made man who changed the way business was done in Norway, and from this week, Kjell Inge Roekke, a flamboyant billionaire with an explosive temper and a taste for the supersized, can also call himself an oil baron. (NORWAY-KJELLINGEROEKKE/ (PROFILE, PICTURE), moved, by Gwladys Fouche and Joachim Dagenborg, 995 words)

Component makers gear up for China's tougher emission rules

SHANGHAI - Global companies that specialise in making vehicle emissions cleaner are rushing to take advantage of Beijing's war on pollution, as Chinese automakers look to comply with tougher regulations in the world's biggest auto market. (CHINA-AUTOS/POLLUTION (PICTURE, TV), moved, by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada, 800 words)

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