May 12, 2014 / 1:11 PM / 3 years ago

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TOP STORIES

Pfizer defends Astra deal as CEO braces for grilling

LONDON - Pfizer defends the business case behind its plan to acquire AstraZeneca and questions the UK drugmaker’s ability to stand alone for much longer as the New York-based group’s CEO prepares for a grilling from British lawmakers. (ASTRAZENECA-PFIZER/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ben Hirschler, 825 words)

+ See also:

- ASTRAZENECA-PFIZER/GLOBAL, moved, by Ben Hirschler, 840 words

BSkyB in talks to unite Murdoch’s European pay-TV businesses

LONDON/FRANKFURT - Britain’s largest pay-TV company BSkyB is in talks to buy Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia, a 10 billion euro deal that will realise Rupert Murdoch’s long-held ambition to combine his European TV interests in a single business. (BSKYB-DEUTSCHLAND/TALKS (UPDATE 2), moved, by Paul Sandle and Maria Sheahan, 800 words)

EU moves cautiously to raise pressure on Russia over Ukraine

BRUSSELS - European Union ministers are set to step up pressure on Russia by taking a first cautious step towards extending sanctions to companies, as well as people, linked to Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. (UKRAINE-CRISIS/EU (UPDATE 2, TV, PICTURE), moving shortly, by Adrian Croft and Justyna Pawlak, 600 words)

+ See also:

- FRANCE-RUSSIA/MISTRAL (UPDATE 1), moved, by John Irish and Elizabeth Pineau, 680 words

- OIL-SAUDI/ (UPDATE 4), moved, by Meeyoung Cho and Jane Chung, 590 words

ECB gets pragmatic to keep bank test deadlines in sight

LONDON - The European Central Bank has quietly made a series of concessions to banks that will make it easier for them to meet the tight deadlines of a landmark review of their businesses, four sources familiar with the process tells Reuters. (EUROZONE-BANKS/TESTS (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Laura Noonan, 965 words)

MARKETS & INVESTMENT

ECB easing talk props shares, pins euro

LONDON - Fresh talk of supportive changes in policy from the European Central Bank keep the euro and euro zone bond yields pinned down and help lift the region’s shares to a new six-year high. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/(WRAPUP 5), moving shortly, by Marc Jones, 700 words)

Boom times for bank trading have gone, may never come back

LONDON - The boom years of financial market trading, when banks made unprecedented profits from bonds, currencies and commodities, may be over for good as financial firms realise there will be no cyclical upswing on their dealing desks. (BANKS-TRADING/, moved, by Jamie McGeever, 985 words)

INSIGHT

Once Europe’s preacher of prudence, Finland loses glow

HELSINKI - Vesa Vihavainen is worried. Merivaara, his Finnish-based hospital bed-making business, is struggling - just like the economy that Finns once held up to debt-laden Greeks as a model of what national thrift can achieve. (FINLAND-ECONOMY/ (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by Sakari Suoninen and Jussi Rosendahl, 1,065 words)

How Japan’s Marubeni stumbled in China after rapid expansion

TOKYO/BEIJING - A year after spending $3.6 billion to buy grain trader Gavilon to expand in China, Japan’s Marubeni Corp has been shaken by defaults on soybean sales and faces an investigation into alleged tax evasion in the world’s top food consumer. (MARUBENI-CHINA/ (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by James Topham and Niu Shuping, 1,200 words)

ECONOMY

Nowotny says would prefer “package” of ECB measures

VIENNA - An interest rate cut alone will not be enough to deal with persistently low inflation in the euro zone, ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny says as the central bank gets ready to add more stimulus as soon as June. (EUROPE-ECB/CONSTANCIO (UPDATE 1), moved, by Michael Shields and Georgina Prodhan, 470 words)

+ See also:

- EUROPE-ECB/REGULATIONS, moved, 130 words

Weak Japanese exports could shake Bank of Japan into action

TOKYO - The Bank of Japan is increasingly confident that the economy is weathering a recent tax increase and is on its way out of deflation, but another threat to that optimistic scenario is lurking - weak exports. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (ANALYSIS), moved, by Leika Kihara, 1,065 words)

UK lobby sees brighter outlook, boosted by investment

LONDON - Britain’s top business lobby upgrades its economic growth forecasts for this year and next and says it expects to see marked improvements in British business investment and productivity. (BRITAIN-ECONOMY/CBI, moved, 300 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-ECONOMY/EMPLOYMENT, moved, 360 words

Franco-German show of unity masks policy divide

BERLIN - When leaders need to go out of their way to show the world they are united, it is usually a sign that all is not well. Ruegen, a windswept island off the Pomeranian coast of Germany where Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande met for a boat tour and stroll on a pier late last week, is about as out of the way as it gets. (GERMANY-FRANCE/ (ANALYSIS, PICTURE), moved, by Noah Barkin, 1,000 words)

COMPANIES

Hillshire to buy Pinnacle Foods in $6.6 bln deal

Hillshire Brands Co says it will buy Pinnacle Foods Inc for about $6.6 billion including debt, adding products such as Duncan Hines baking mixes to its portfolio that includes Jimmy Dean sausages and Hillshire Farm luncheon meats. (PINNACLE-OFFER/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 250 words)

UniCredit swings back to profit, bad loans fall

MILAN - UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank by assets, return to profit in the first quarter of 2014 thanks to lower loan loss charges after last year’s massive balance-sheet clean up, it says. (ITALY-BANKS/UNICREDIT, moved, 100 words)

+ See also:

- POLAND-PEKAO/RESULTS, moved, 100 words

As big ad deal falls apart, firms start thinking small

NEW YORK/LONDON - The collapse of the $35 billion merger of New York-based Omnicom with France’s Publicis is likely to lead the world’s biggest ad agencies to think small as they try to counter the challenge from internet giants like Google. (OMNICOM GROUP-PUBLICIS GROUPE/NEXT (ANALYSIS), moved, by Jennifer Saba, Kate Holton and Pamela Barbaglia, 1,080 words)

Two workers killed at Lonmin mine in South Africa - union

JOHANNESBURG - Two Lonmin workers are killed in South Africa as they report for work at their strike-hit platinum mine, a mineworkers union says, threatening the firm’s plans to end the walkout this week. (SAFRICA-STRIKE/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ed Stoddard and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, 680 words)

+ See also:

- LONMIN/STRIKE (UPDATE 2), moved, by Silvia Antonioli, 540 words

Nissan forecasts profit growth but margins remain weak

YOKOHAMA, Japan - Nissan Motor Co expects profit to grow at a slower rate than analysts forecast this year and an operating margin that will be the lowest of its compatriots, weighed down by the costs of aggressive expansion. (NISSAN MOTOR-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Yoko Kubota, 540 words)

Georgia’s TBC Bank plans $600 mln London share listing

LONDON - Georgia’s TBC Bank plans to list in London by the end of June, in a sale that will test investor demand for assets from that region given the troubles in nearby Ukraine. (TBC BANK/IPO (UPDATE 2), moved, By Freya Berry and Clare Hutchison, 460 words)

Ageing warehouses lure global investors in e-commerce race

HONG KONG - Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s plans for a giant initial public offering in New York highlight vast potential for e-commerce in China - and the weak link the logistics industry must fix if explosive growth projections are to be reached. (CHINA-WAREHOUSE/ (PICTURE, GRAPHICS), moved, by Stephen Aldred and Clare Jim, 1,200 words)

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