July 8, 2014 / 1:00 PM / 3 years ago

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TOP STORIES

U.S. in sanctions talks with Commerzbank and Deutsche-source

FRANKFURT - U.S. authorities have begun settlement talks with Germany’s Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank over their dealings with countries blacklisted by the United States, extending a crackdown on European banks at a delicate point in U.S.-German relations. (COMMERZBANK-INVESTIGATION/USA (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Thomas Atkins and Alexander Hübner, 665 words)

AbbVie hikes bid for drugmaker Shire to $51 billion

LONDON - U.S. drugmaker AbbVie raises its offer for Shire to 30.1 billion pounds ($51.3 billion), hoping to win over its reluctant target after three earlier offers were rejected. (SHIRE-ABBVIE/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, 340 words)

+ See also:

- OMEGAPHARMA-SALE/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 300 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, according to official data that raises questions about the pace of the country’s recovery. (BRITAIN-ECONOMY/INDUSTRY (UPDATE 1), moved, by David Milliken and William Schomberg, 610 words)

+ See also:

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

- BRITAIN-ECONOMY/EMPLOYMENT, moved, 430 words

MARKETS & INVESTMENT

Europe’s stocks dip on bank fine talks, dimming QE hopes

LONDON - Europe’s main stock indices and lower-rated government bonds slip amid reports of potential new U.S. fines for banks and dimming prospects the European Central Bank will launch an asset-purchase programme. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 6), moved, by John Geddie, 730 words)

FX traders to be 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/, moved, by Jamie McGeever, 500 words)

Short-term bond sale tempting for Greece

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 valuable status of having virtually no near-term refinancing risk. (MARKETS-BONDS/GREECE, moved, 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

Italy encounters resistance over European spending rules

BRUSSELS - Italy and its allies will receive no special treatment when EU budget rules are enforced, the influential chairman of euro zone finance ministers says, drawing battle lines as Rome embarks on the bloc’s 6-month presidency. (EUROZONE-AUSTERITY/ (UPDATE 1, PICTURE), moving shortly, by John O‘Donnell and Francesca Landini, 650 words)

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)

U.S. small business confidence edges lower, near 6-year high

WASHINGTON - U.S. small business sentiment weakens in June, pulling back from a six-year high because firms felt less confident the economy would improve in coming months. (USA-ECONOMY/BUSINESSSENTIMENT (UPDATE 1), moved, 205 words)

OECD sees global growth stable, emerging markets slip

PARIS - OECD sees slowing or stable growth in emerging economies flat in major developing economies with the exception of India, while the outlook for most developed economies is stable and improving in the United States, the OECD says. (ECONOMY-GLOBAL/OECD, moved, 275 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)

COMPANIES

Shareholders vent frustration as M&S clothing sales fall

LONDON - Marks & Spencer’s army of small shareholders warn Chief Executive Marc Bolland they were running out of patience after the British retailer reports its 12th consecutive drop in quarterly general merchandise sales. (MARKS-SPENCR-GRP-SALES/(UPDATE 3), moved, by James Davey, 770 words)

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)

Italy’s banks eye bad loans sales of 16 bln euros by 2016

MILAN - Italian banks are preparing to sell between 10 billion euros and 16 billion euros of bad debt over the next two years in an effort to free up capital for new loans to companies and families and to improve profitability, a survey exclusively reviewed by Reuters shows. (ITALY-LOANS/DELOITTE, expect 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Lisa Jucca, 550 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 approves Hypo haircut law

VIENNA - The lower house of Austria’s parliament approves legislation that will wipe out some subordinated creditors of nationalised lender Hypo Alpe Adria despite guarantees from its home province, entering uncharted territory for debt markets. (AUSTRIA-HYPO/, moved, by Michael Shields, 600 words)

Air France warns on profit as overcapacity hits prices

PARIS - An Air France-KLM profit warning bruises European airline shares, as the latest evidence of overcapacity set the stage for possible further job cuts. (AIRFRANCE-GUIDANCE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Andrew Callus and Tim Hepher, 650 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 (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, by Matt Scuffham, 560 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/ (PICTURE, TV), moved, 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 2), moved, by David Dolan and Tiisetso Motsoeneng, 475 words)

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