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TOP STORIES

Siemens-Mitsubishi raises Alstom offer as end-game nears

PARIS/FRANKFURT - Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) raised their offer for Alstom's energy arm, challenging a revamped bid by General Electric as the deadline for a decision nears. (ALSTOM-OFFER/ (PICTURE, TV), moved, by Mark John and Maria Sheahan, 720 words)

+ See also:

- ALSTOM-OFFER/SIEMENS (UPDATE 1), moved, 325 words)

- ALSTOM-SIEMENS/ (FACTBOX), moved, 455 words

AbbVie says Shire rejected bid valuing it at $46 billion

LONDON - British drugmaker Shire has rejected a takeover offer from AbbVie Inc which will have valued the group at around 27 billion pounds ($46 billion), the U.S. firm says. (ABBVIE-SHIRE/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Kate Holton, 550 words)

World stocks just off record peak, eyes on Iraq

LONDON - Global stocks trade just off record highs, still largely undeterred by a second week of chaos in Iraq that has sent oil prices to nine-month highs. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4), moving shortly, by Patrick Graham, 615 words)

Lloyds sells more shares in TSB listing than expected

LONDON - Lloyds Banking Group says it has sold more than a third of its TSB business in a stock market listing, more than originally anticipated following strong demand from investors for the new British bank. (LLOYDS-TSB/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 265 words)

ECONOMY

Yellen gives the green light for more stock gains

NEW YORK - Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen signals that rational exuberance is just fine. That, at least, is how some of America's largest money managers interpreted her comments on Wednesday suggesting interest rates will remain low through 2016. (USA-MARKETS/FED (ANALYSIS), moved, by Luciana Lopez and Jennifer Ablan, 1,140 words)

China's property market may not be as bad as it looks

BEIJING - The first fall in Chinese home prices in two years crystallises worries of a messy end to a housing boom, but some analysts say fears of an imminent collapse similar to that in the United States after the sub-prime crisis are overblown. (CHINA-ECONOMY/PROPERTY (PICTURE, GRAPHICS), moved, by Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing, 800 words)

COMPANIES

UBS faces criminal probe for Puerto Rico bond fund sales -lawyers

NEW YORK - U.S. authorities are probing UBS AG for criminal fraud after a former broker in Puerto Rico allegedly directed clients to improperly borrow money to buy mutual funds that later plunged, according to lawyers representing some of the investors. (UBS-PUERTORICO/FRAUD (EXCLUSIVE, PICTURE), moved, by Emily Flitter, 810 words)

Sprint closer to $40 bln-plus T-Mobile deal financing -sources

NEW YORK/LONDON - Sprint Corp has lined up eight banks to finance its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile US Inc, edging closer to a deal that would merge the third- and fourth-biggest U.S. mobile operators, according to people familiar with the matter. (SPRINT CORP-FINANCING/ (EXCLUSIVE, UPDATE 2), moved, by Soyoung Kim, Sophie Sassard and Michelle Sierra, 660 words)

TPG, Carlyle seek about $2.4bln in Australia Healthscope IPO-source

HONG KONG - Private equity firms TPG Capital and Carlyle Group are planning to raise about A$2.5 billion in an initial public offering of shares in Healthscope Ltd, Australia's biggest private hospitals operator, a source with direct knowledge of the plan tells Reuters. (HEALTHSCOPE-IPO/ (EXCLUSIVE, UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Stephen Aldred, 350 words)

BofA asks Holder to meet with its CEO -sources

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Brian Moynihan may be taking a play out of Jamie Dimon's book. Representatives of Bank of America Corp have asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to meet with Moynihan, its chief executive officer, in an attempt to resolve differences over a possible multibillion-dollar settlement involving shoddy mortgage securities sold by the second-largest U.S. bank and its units, according to people familiar with the negotiations. (USA-BANKS/HOLDER (EXCLUSIVE, PICTURE), moved, by Karen Freifeld and Aruna Viswanatha, 740 words)

Taiwan's Quanta to start mass production of Apple's smartwatch in July -source

TAIPEI - Taiwan's Quanta Computer Inc starts mass production of Apple Inc's first smartwatch in July, a source familiar with the matter says, as the U.S. tech giant tries to prove it can still innovate against rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. (APPLE-SMARTWATCH/, moved, by Michael Gold, 700 words)

Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing $2.2 bln Envestra takeover hits snag

SYDNEY - Australian pipeline operator Envestra Ltd says it's in dispute with its prospective future owner over the date of a dividend payment as a firm, which Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing controls, closes in on an agreed $2.2 billion takeover. (AUSTRALIA-ENVESTRA/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Byron Kaye, 400 words)

Australia's Westfield gets shareholder vote to split

SYDNEY - Australia's Westfield Group, the world's biggest retail property group, splits its business along geographic lines after shareholders vote in favour of the move at a meeting on Friday. (AUSTRALIA-WESTFIELD GROUP/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words)

COMMODITIES

Ivorian cocoa purchases slowed as quality poor due to rains

ABIDJAN - Greater amounts of poor quality cocoa have been arriving at Ivory Coast ports, prompting some operators to suspend purchases of beans from farms, due to heavy rainfall and insufficient sunshine, exporters, middlemen and farmers say. (COCOA-IVORYCOAST-QUALITY, moved, by Ange Aboa, 535 words)

China iron ore traders starved of credit as banks clamp down

SHANGHAI - Chinese iron ore traders are starving for credit because banks are reining in loan approvals and curbing letters of credit, industry sources and bankers say, as a clampdown on financing deals in the world's top consumer of commodities gathers force. (CHINA-IRONORE/FINANCING, moved, by Ruby Lian and Fayen Wong, 900 words)

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