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TOP STORIES

Uneasy Iraq lull gives investors some breathing space

LONDON - Merger and acquisition speculation gives European stocks a shot in the arm, while commodity and emerging market investors are somewhat calmed by the absence of an escalation in the Iraq crisis overnight. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), moved, by Jamie McGeever, 730 words)

France wants better Alstom offers - presidency source

PARIS - The French government raises the stakes in the battle for the power assets of engineering group Alstom, urging rival suitors General Electric (GE) and Siemens to come up with better offers. (ALSTOM-OFFER/FRANCE (UPDATE 1, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Natalie Huet and Elizabeth Pineau, 515 words)

UK inflation falls to 4 1/2-year low in May, but house prices soar

LONDON - British inflation slumps to a 4 1/2-year low last month but house prices surge in April, according to data that clouds the view for Bank of England policymakers gauging Britain's economic recovery. (BRITAIN-INFLATION/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Andy Bruce and David Milliken, 565 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-ECONOMY/POLL, moved, by Jonathan Cable, 890 words

- BRITAIN BOE/CARNEY, moved, 250 words

- BANKOFENGLAND-INTEREST RATE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, 550 words

BP to sign $20 bln LNG supply deal with China's CNOOC

MOSCOW/MILAN - BP will sign a deal worth around $20 billion to supply China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) with liquefied natural gas (LNG), Chief Executive Bob Dudley says at a conference in Moscow. (BP/LNG (UPDATE 1), moved, 515 words)

INVESTMENT

Low global yields, short memories propel frontier debt revival

LONDON - Investors are returning to the riskier, less developed bond markets of Africa and other frontier economies, burying memories of past setbacks and plunging in after global yields failed to rise as much as expected. (EMERGINGMARKETS-BONDS/FRONTIER, moved, by Carolyn Cohn, 930 words)

ECONOMY

German investor morale unexpectedly falls again in June

MANNHEIM, Germany - German analyst and investor morale unexpectedly falls again in June, to its lowest in about 1-1/2 years, a leading survey shows in a sign that second-quarter growth in Europe's biggest economy may weaken. (GERMANY-ZEW/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Michelle Martin and Harro Ten Wolde, 480 words)

Cheap money, push for returns creating risk, says Bank of Spain

MADRID - The Bank of Spain warns that global easing of monetary policy coupled with a push for returns has become risky as investors chase profit, suggesting some are paying too little attention to assets' underlying value. (SPAIN-ECONOMY/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Paul Day, 455 words)

Reuters monthly long-term economic poll

LONDON - Reuters has surveyed more than 100 economists on the economic outlook for the United States and the euro zone, future monetary policy options and risks to recovery. The results will be published at 1320 GMT/9.20 AM ET. (ECONOMY-POLL/EUROZONE, by Rahul Karunakar, 600 words)

+ See also:

- ECONOMY-POLL/USA, by Lucia Mutikani, 600 words

Greece plans summer bond issue after April success

ATHENS - Greece is preparing to issue a small-sized, medium-term bond in the coming weeks to follow on the heels of its successful return to debt markets this year after a four-year exile, a senior finance ministry official tells Reuters. (GREECE-DEBT/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Lefteris Papadimas, 490 words)

Iraq's oil growth at risk as demand, for now, accelerates-IEA

LONDON - Iraq's oil growth targets look increasingly at risk, the International Energy Agency says, as threats to supplies from political instability and violence grow just as demand is picking up due to a stronger global economy. (IEA-OIL/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Alex Lawler, 730 words)

Science should settle farm debates in EU/U.S. trade deal - U.S.

BRUSSELS - A planned EU/U.S. trade deal needs to sweep away "non-scientific barriers" that restrict U.S. farmers from selling the likes of genetically modified crops and certain meats from Europe, the U.S. agriculture secretary says. (EU-US/TRADE, expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Philip Blenkinsop, 550 words)

COMPANIES

Shire hits record high as drugmaker braces for takeover bids

LONDON - Shares in Shire hit a record high on expectations of a takeover as dealmaking sweeps the drugs sector, after Reuters reports the group has hired investment bank Citi as a defence adviser. (SHIRE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ben Hirschler, 620 words)

Shell to sell most of stake in Australia's Woodside for $5.7 bln

MELBOURNE - Royal Dutch Shell launches a long-anticipated sale of most of its stake in Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd, looking to reap about $5.7 billion as it moves to focus on developing its own gas assets in Australia. (WOODSIDE-SHELL/BUYBACK (UPDATE 4), moved, by Sonali Paul, 700 words)

S.Africa's Woolworths investors approve $2 bln David Jones deal

CAPE TOWN - Shareholders of Woolworths overwhelmingly back the South African retailer's $2 billion buyout of Australia's David Jones. (SAFRICA-WOOLWORTHS HLD (UPDATE 1), moved, by Wendell Roelf, 345 words)

Lloyds Bank lifts minimum price for TSB listing -sources

LONDON - New British bank TSB will be valued at 1.3 billion pounds or more when it lists on the stock market this week after its parent Lloyds Banking Group lifts the minimum price it will sell shares at, people familiar with the matter says. (LLOYDS BANKING-TSB BANKING GRP/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 315 words)

BG sells UK CATS gas pipeline stake to infrastructure fund

LONDON - Britain's BG Group has sold a majority stake in one of Europe's biggest gas pipelines to Antin Infrastructure Partners for nearly $1 billion, the firm's first major asset sale since announcing a portfolio review to beef up its finances. (BGGROUP/BRIEF (UPDATE 2), moved, 350 words)

Maersk gives up ship pooling plan, shares fall 6.2 pct

COPENHAGEN - A.P. Moller-Maersk says it has abandoned a planned ship pooling network after China's Ministry of Commerce surprisingly announced it had not approved it. (MAERSK-NETWORK/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ole Mikkelsen, 300 words)

S.Africa platinum firms, union agree "in principle" offer - Implats

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's platinum producers and union AMCU have agreed on a broad wage offer to end a protracted strike but details such as the timeframe and additional benefits are still outstanding, Impala Platinum says. (SAFRICA-STRIKE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 215 words)

US banks seen falling short of new debt funding rule

WASHINGTON - Wells Fargo, State Street and JPMorgan Chase & Co are below or almost at minimum capital thresholds expected to be included in a rule still being hammered out by U.S. regulators that's meant to mitigate taxpayer losses in another financial crisis, according to a Reuters analysis. (USA-BANKS/DEBT (ANALYSIS), moved, by Douwe Miedema, 1,075 words)

British insurer RSA to sell Asia unit in up to $500 mln deal -sources

HONG KONG - RSA Insurance Group Ltd, Britain's largest non-life insurer, is looking to sell its Asian operations in an auction that could fetch up to $500 million and draw a wide range of suitors, people familiar with the sale process tell Reuters. (RSA INS GRP-ASIA/SALE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Denny Thomas, 500 words)

For Africa and its entrepreneurs, credit bureaus the path to growth

LUSAKA/LAGOS - When Joyce Musonda wanted to start a business two years ago selling kitchen tiles from her backyard in an up-and-coming district of Zambia's capital of Lusaka, she braced herself for a battle to find a start-up loan. (AFRICA-CREDIT/, moved, by David Dolan and Chris Mfula, 785 words)

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