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TOP STORIES

Carney signals earlier British rate rise, sterling soars

LONDON - Britain could become the first major economy to tighten monetary policy since the 2008 financial crisis, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has signalled, sending sterling shooting towards a five-year high against the dollar. (BRITAIN-BOE/CARNEY (UPDATE 3), moved, by David Milliken, 800 words)

British hike hint boosts sterling, Iraq unrest drives up oil

LONDON - Sterling surges after the Bank of England hints at an interest rate rise this year, while escalating violence in Iraq drove oil to a nine-month high and sends equity markets staggering back from record highs. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), moving shortly, by Marc Jones, 800 words)

+ See also:

- MARKETS-OIL/ (UPDATE 5), moved, by Julia Payne and Christopher Johnson, 770 words

- IEA/, moved, 420 words

EU to toughen up bankers pay rules

LONDON - The European Union's banking watchdog will toughen up its guidelines on bankers' pay after a study uncovers wide variations in how lenders apply the rules across the 28-country bloc and how banks are avoiding the bonus cap. (EU-BANKING/BONUSES (UPDATE 1), moved, by Huw Jones, 535 words)

"Light at end of tunnel" for South Africa platinum strike

JOHANNESBURG - The leader of South Africa's AMCU union says a wage deal with the top three platinum producers is imminent, signalling a possible end to a crippling five-month strike that has disrupted global output of the metal. (SAFRICA-STRIKE/ (UPDATE 3, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Ed Cropley, 600 words)

+ See also:

- SAFRICA-RATINGS/, moved, by Stella Mapenzauswa, 525 words

INSIGHT

Diminished France loses influence in Europe

PARIS - It's not a good sign when the leader of a G7 nation feels the need to state his country still matters. That is precisely what French President Francois Hollande did at a meeting of European Union leaders last month after his Socialist party's humiliating defeat by the hard right National Front in European Parliament elections. (FRANCE-EU/ (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by Paul Taylor and Ingrid Melander, 1,175 words)

China port fraud probe prompted by corruption inquiry

HONG KONG/QINGDAO, China/SYDNEY - The trail that led investigators to a suspected metal financing scam at China's Qingdao port which has spooked Western banks and hit global metals prices began with a Communist Party corruption probe 1,000 miles away in the old Silk Road city of Xining. (CHINA-QINGDAO/ (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by Polly Yam, Fayen Wong and Melanie Burton, 1,460 words)

Jean-Claude Juncker: Federalist danger man or skilled fixer?

BRUSSELS - Four months ago, Jean-Claude Juncker would have struggled to have his name recognised in much of Europe. Now he could be forgiven for wishing people would shut up about him. (EU-COMMISSION/JUNCKER (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by Luke Baker, 1,470 words)

+ See also:

- GERMANY-JUNCKER/, moved, 100 words

Why higher Iran oil exports are not roiling nuclear deal

WASHINGTON - At first glance, Iran appears to have exported more oil than allowed under a nuclear agreement with major powers, but rather than complaining, U.S. officials argue Tehran is skating just inside the deal's ambiguous limits. (IRAN-NUCLEAR/OIL (INSIGHT), moved, by Arshad Mohammed and Timothy Gardner, 1,380 words)

Argentina's economy minister: 'flaming red' to pragmatic

BUENOS AIRES - When he became Argentina's economy minister late last year, many in the business community feared Axel Kicillof, who was once described by a critic as a "flaming Red Marxist," might plunge Latin America's No. 3 economy deeper into isolation in the name of ideology. (ARGENTINA MINISTER/, moved, by Sarah Marsh, 1,400 words)

INVESTMENT

Press here Mr Carney for lower volatility?

LONDON - In the search for reasons for this year's collapse in volatility and volume in financial market trading, one newly emerging candidate is central banks' intent to use all the tools in their arsenal short of raising interest rates too soon. (INVESTMENT/VOLATILITY, expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Patrick Graham, 650 words)

Words cannot rid securitised debt of "bad boy" image

BARCELONA, Spain - Six years after mind-blowingly complex securitised debt brought the global financial system to its knees, the bankers behind the market are wary of official efforts to rehabilitate it in Europe. (EUROPE/SECURITISATION, moved, by Anil Mayre and Anna Brunetti, 845 words)

Short sellers enjoy revival as market loses steam

LONDON - Speculative selling in European stocks is enjoying a long-awaited respite as a two-year rally make investors more selective. (STOCKS-EUROPE\SHORTSELLING, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Francesco Canepa and Blaise Robinson, 650 words)

ECONOMY

U.S. producer prices unexpectedly fall in May

WASHINGTON - U.S. producer prices unexpectedly fall in May as costs decline broadly, indicating inflation pressures remain benign. The Labor Department says its producer price index for final demand slips 0.2 percent, braking sharply from April's 0.6 percent increase, which was the largest gain in 1-1/2 years. (USA-ECONOMY/INFLATION, moved, 300 words)

Euro zone employment rises, trade surplus grows

BRUSSELS - Euro zone employment rose for the second consecutive quarter in the first three months of the year in a sign the recovery was finally helping the labour market and a widening trade surplus signalled a further positive contribution to growth in April. (EUROZONE-ECONOMY/TRADE, moved, by Martin Santa, 390 words)

Bank of Spain says latest data shows recovery continuing

MADRID - Spain's economic recovery is continuing, boosted by expansive euro zone monetary policy and domestic structural reforms, though challenges remain, the head of the Bank of Spain says. (SPAIN-ECONOMY/, moved, 425 words)

IMF says Swedish household lending boom a growing concern

STOCKHOLM - The International Monetary Fund says financial instability linked to a booming housing market is a growing concern for Sweden's economy and urges a comprehensive set of measures to temper soaring mortgage debt among households. (IMF-SWEDEN/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 370 words)

Yield famine could make Cyprus a feast for bond investors

LONDON - Cyprus is preparing to sell bonds to yield-starved investors in the next few weeks, making a return to markets that looked very distant just a year ago when it was bailing-in bank depositors and imposing capital controls. (CYPRUS-DEBT/, moved, by Marius Zaharia, 800 words)

Once a model for Africa, Ghana's economy loses its shine

ACCRA - Rising bond yields, mounting inflation and a weakening currency have taken the shine off Ghana, a country until recently hailed as a model for African growth. (GHANA-ECONOMY/ (ANALYSIS), moved, by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Kwasi Kpodo, 990 words)

COMPANIES

Priceline to buy OpenTable for $2.6 bln

Travel website owner Priceline Group Inc says it will buy restaurant reservation website operator OpenTable Inc for $2.6 billion in an all-cash deal. (PRICELINE GROUP-OFFER/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 100 words)

BNP warned in 2006 about sanctions busting - report

PARIS - French bank BNP Paribas was warned in 2006 by a high-ranking U.S. Treasury official and in three reports by legal experts that it risked being penalised for breaking U.S. sanctions, according to Le Monde newspaper. (BNPPARIBAS-USA/, moved, 525 words)

CVR may be unwieldy lever in any new Pfizer bid for Astra

LONDON - Speculation of a fresh Pfizer move on AstraZeneca later this year remains intense, with investors weighing the idea of using a contingent value right to bridge the price gap between the two sides, as happened with Sanofi/Genzyme in 2011. (ASTRAZENECA-PFIZER/ (DEALTALK), moved, by Ben Hirschler and Anjuli Davies, 800 words)

Telecom Italia shake-up opens door to activists

LONDON - For decades many of Italy's top companies have been in the grip of shareholder pacts, often stifling reform, but its largest telecoms operator, Telecom Italia, could soon break free, letting in activist investors who sense an opportunity for profitable change. (ITALY-ACTIVISTS/, moved, by Pamela Barbaglia, 565 words)

Shares in Carige up ahead of highly dilutive stock sale

MILAN - Shares in Italy's Banca Carige rises, reversing a weak start, as investors rushed to buy the stock ahead of a highly dilutive 800 million euro ($1 billion) cash call due to start on Monday. (CARIGE-STOCKS/REVERSAL (UPDATE 1), moved, by Valentina Za, 500 words)

Spooked pharma executives ask: should I leave China?

SHANGHAI - China's crackdown on corruption in the pharmaceutical sector has frightened foreign executives so much that some fear they could be jailed and have asked their lawyers if they should leave the country for six months. Others are thinking of going for good. (CHINA-PHARMACEUTICALS/ (PICTURES), moved, by Adam Jourdan, 950 words)

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