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July 8, 2014 / 9:06 AM / in 3 years

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TOP STORIES

US begins settlement talks with Commerzbank, Deutsche-source

U.S. state and federal authorities have begun settlement talks with Germany’s Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank over their dealings with countries blacklisted by the United States, a source with direct knowledge of the regulatory investigations says. (COMMERZBANK-INVESTIGATION/USA, moved, 430 words)

German exports and imports fall more than expected in May

BERLIN - German exports and imports dropped much more than expected in May, data shows, coming on the heels of other soft indicators that have signalled Europe’s largest economy is losing momentum. (GERMANY-ECONOMY/TRADE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Annika Breidthardt, 345 words)

UK sees surprise slump in May factory output

LONDON - British factory output suffers an unexpected slump in May, echoing a similar decline in German industrial production, official data shows, raising questions about the pace of the country’s recovery. (BRITAIN-ECONOMY/INDUSTRY, moved, 535 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-ECONOMY/BCC, moved, by Andy Bruce, 465 words

- BRITAIN-ECONOMY/EMPLOYMENT, moved, 430 words

M&S claims womenswear progress as website holds back sales

LONDON - British retailer Marks & Spencer says it is making progress in the key area of womenswear as it reports a 12th straight quarterly sales fall in its non-food division, hurt by the transition to a new website. (MARKS SPENCR GRP-SALES/(UPDATE 2), expect by 1030 GMT/0630 AM ET, by James Davey, 700 words)

MARKETS & INVESTMENT

Europe’s bonds, stocks dip as bank fines mount, QE hopes dim

LONDON - Europe’s main stock indices and bond benchmarks dip as speculation rises of fresh bank fines from the U.S. and prospects of an asset purchase programme from the ECB dims. (MARKETS-GLOBAL (WRAPUP 5), expect by 1100 GMT/7 AM ET, by John Geddie, 650 words)

FX traders interviewed as part of BoE probe - sources

LONDON - An independent inquiry into what the Bank of England knew of alleged currency market collusion will this month quiz senior traders about what guidance they received from the central bank as far back as 2012, sources tell Reuters. (FX-INVESTIGATION/, expect by 0900 GMT/5 AM ET, by Jamie McGeever, 500 words)

Tempting short-term Greek bond brings forward familiar risks

LONDON - Greece may be tempted to capitalise on increasing demand for short-term euro zone debt with a three-year bond sale in coming days, but in doing so it will give up its unique status of having virtually no near-term refinancing risk. (MARKETS-BONDS/GREECE, expect by 1100 GMT/7 AM ET, by Marius Zaharia, 900 words)

INSIGHT

Ambition, greed fuel rise and fall of Dubai’s Arabtec

ABU DHABI/DUBAI - From a 59-storey tower in Abu Dhabi, the offices of Arabtec look out over the Gulf towards Middle Eastern and Asian nations where the construction firm hopes to expand. It is a symbol of the company’s ambitions - and the way in which they have run into hard reality. (ARABTEC-CEO/ (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by Stanley Carvalho, Nadia Saleem and Andrew Torchia, 1,590 words)

ECONOMY

French economy grows 0.2 pct in Q2, trade deficit widens

PARIS - The French economy grew only 0.2 percent in the second quarter after stalling in the first three months of the year, the French central bank says, while the trade deficit widened in May from the previous month. (FRANCE-ECONOMY/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 285 words)

EU pledges no special budget treatment for Italy or others

BRUSSELS - No special treatment will be given to Italy or others when enforcing EU budget rules, the influential head of the group of euro zone finance ministers says, laying down the battle lines as Rome embarks on the bloc’s 6-month presidency.(EUROZONE-AUSTERITY, expect by 0900 GMT/5 AM ET, by John O‘Donnell and Francesca Landini, 400 words)

Hope for Abe’s “virtuous cycle” as Japan Inc spends at last

OSAKA - Japanese manufacturers, flush with cash but loath to spend it at home since the global financial crisis, are finally shedding their deflationary mindset and splashing out on the new plant and equipment crucial to sustaining a nascent economic recovery. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/CAPEX (PICTURE), moved, by Yoshiyuki Osada, 1,100 words)

+ See also:

- JAPAN-ECONOMY/CURRENT (UPDATE 1), moved, by Stanley White, 300 words

- JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Leika Kihara, 400 words

- JAPAN-ABE/AUSTRALIA (UPDATE 1, TV), moved, by Jane Wardell and Tim Kelly, 535 words

China should let more ailing firms fail - central banker

BEIJING - China should let more ailing firms go bankrupt to help improve economic mechanisms rather than allow them to get government-led bailouts, a deputy central bank governor says. (CHINA-ECONOMY/BANKRUPTCIES, moved, 300 words)

COMPANIES

Smartphones weigh on Samsung Elec as guidance disappoints

SEOUL - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd issues unexpectedly weak quarterly earnings guidance which put it on track for its worst results in two years and cast doubt on the smartphone leader’s strategy against cheaper Chinese rivals. (SAMSUNG ELEC-GUIDANCE/Q2 (UPDATE 3, PICTURE), moved, by Se Young Lee, 700 words)

Philips drops healthcare head as warns over earnings

AMSTERDAM - Dutch healthcare and lighting company Philips says its chief executive will assume direct charge of its healthcare business after warning that the division - which contributes 40 percent of the company’s revenues - will miss expectations. (PHILIPS-HEALTHCARE/OUTLOOK (UPDATE 1), moved, by Thomas Escritt, 375 words)

Total CEO keeps costly drilling strategy to end-2014

PARIS - The chief executive of French oil major Total is giving himself until the end of the year to strike oil at a big new field somewhere in the world before considering whether to change direction and cut the exploration budget. (TOTAL-STRATEGY/ (INTERVIEW), moved, by Michel Rose, 705 words)

+ See also:

- TOTAL-KURDISTAN/, moved, 390 words

- TOTAL-RUSSIA/ (INTERVIEW, PICTURE), moved, by Dmitry Zhdannikov, 540 words

Austrian parliament set to adopt Hypo haircut law

VIENNA - Lower house of Austria’s parliament set to approve legislation that aims to wipe out some subordinated creditors of nationalised lender Hypo Alpe Adria despite guarantees from its home province, entering uncharted territory for bond markets. (AUSTRIA-HYPO/, expect 0900 GMT/5 AM ET, by Michael Shields, 600 words)

Air France cuts profit guidance as overcapacity hits prices

PARIS - Air France KLM says its 2014 profits could be as much as 12 percent lower than previously predicted, mainly as a result of overcapacity and resulting weak prices in both the passenger and cargo sectors. (AIRFRANCE-GUIDANCE/, moved, 510 words)

As Britons embrace digital banking, branches face the chop

LONDON - Britons are using internet and mobile banking for transactions worth nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) a day and branch use is falling sharply, according to the British Bankers Association and accountancy firm EY. (BRITAIN-DIGITAL BANKING, moved, by Matt Scuffham, 390 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-BANKS/COMPETITION (UPDATE 1), moved, 250 words

Vatican bank clean-up and account closures wipe out profit

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican bank has blocked the accounts of more than 2,000 clients and ended some 3,000 “customer relationships” as part of a clean-up process that nearly wiped out its profit, its 2013 financial statement shows (VATICAN-BANK) moved, pix, tv, by Philip Pullella, 600 words).

South Africa’s striking metalworkers close to deal - govt

JOHANNESBURG - Striking metalworkers in South Africa are “very close” to sealing a wage deal with employers, a labour ministry spokesman says in a sign the week-long dispute could be nearing an end. (SAFRICA-STRIKE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 170 words)

CITIC starts court proceedings against Qingdao port operator

China’s CITIC Resources Holdings Ltd has begun court proceedings against the operator of a bonded warehouse at Qingdao port as legal action ramps up following an investigation into metals financing fraud at the world’s seventh busiest port. (CHINA-QINGDAO/CITIC RESOURCES (UPDATE 1), moved, 450 words)

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