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April 24, 2014 / 9:16 AM / 3 years ago

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TOP STORIES

Obama ready for new Russia sanctions if no Ukraine progress

TOKYO/DONETSK, Ukraine - U.S. President Barack Obama says he is poised to impose new sanctions on Moscow if it does not act fast to end an armed stand-off in Ukraine, but there is a first, tentative sign that pro-Russian separatists are ceding ground. (UKRAINE CRISIS/ (WRAPUP 1), moved, by Mark Felsenthal and Alissa de Carbonnel, 700 words)

Barclays says Q1 profits fell after fixed income slump

Barclays says its profits in the first quarter fell from a year before after a “significant” drop in revenue in its investment bank’s fixed income business. The bank is also expected to face a backlash from investors at its AGM over pay levels. (BARCLAYS-AGM/PAY (UPDATE 2), expect by 1100 GMT/7 AM ET, by Steve Slater, 500 words)

ECB’s Draghi to speak in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM - The president of the European Central Bank gives a keynote speech at a conference in Amsterdam, with markets watching for any sign the ECB might act to counter the threat of inflation staying low for too long (ECB/DRAGHI/, expect by 0930 GMT/5.30 AM ET, by Thomas Escritt, 300 words)

AstraZeneca flags cancer advances, silent on Pfizer bid talk

LONDON - Drugmaker AstraZeneca, struggling with falling profits, highlights progress with new cancer drugs that may revive its fortunes but says nothing in results statement about reported $100 billion bid approach from Pfizer. (ASTRAZENECA/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Ben Hirschler, 480 words)

INVESTMENT

Russia -themed mutual funds hammered as sanctions fears mount

LONDON - Fears Russia could retreat into autarky as international sanctions bite in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, driving Russia-themed funds to the bottom of performance league tables this year. (RUSSIA/FUNDS, expect by 0900 GMT/5 AM ET, by Chris Vellacott, 800 words)

ECONOMY

Ifo rises as Ukraine has little effect on German business

BERLIN - German firms shrug off concerns about tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, helping the Ifo business climate index to a surprise increase in April and signalling that Europe’s largest economy is on track for firm growth this year. (GERMANY IFO/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Annika Breidthardt, 400 words)

BOJ to stand pat, project sustained 2 pct inflation ahead

TOKYO - The Bank of Japan is set to lay out projections next week underscoring its conviction that inflation will head steadily towards its 2 percent target, suggesting it has no plans to expand stimulus any time soon despite some headwinds to growth. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ, moved, by Leika Kihara, 800 words)

All at sea: global shipping fleet exposed to hacking threat

SINGAPORE - The next hacker playground: the open seas - and the oil tankers and container vessels that ship 90 percent of the goods moved around the planet. In this internet age, as more devices are hooked up online, so they become more vulnerable to attack. As industries like maritime and energy connect ships, containers and rigs to computer networks, they expose weaknesses that hackers can exploit. (TECH-CYBERSECURITY/SHIPPING, moved, by Jeremy Wagstaff, 1,550 words)

COMPANIES

Alstom says not told of any takeover offer from GE

PARIS/NEW YORK - Alstom says it has not been informed of any potential public tender offer for its shares, which opened 17 percent higher after Bloomberg reported that General Electric was in talks to buy the French turbine and train maker for about $13 billion. (ALSTOM OFFER/GENERAL ELECTRIC (UPDATE 2), moved, 600 words)

Spain’s Caixa, Sabadell signal turnaround over bad debts

MADRID - Spain’s Caixabank and Sabadell report bad debts fell slightly in the first quarter, signalling the start of a more marked turnaround for the country’s banks after a deep financial crisis. (SPAIN-BANKS/RESULTS, moved, by Sarah White and Jesus Aguado, 800 words)

Telekom Austria shares boosted by Slim deal

VIENNA - Telekom Austria shares rise 6.8 percent after Carlos Slim says he will offer 7.15 euros per share for the rest of the company, a price seen by analysts as generous. (TELEKOM AUSTRIA-SLIM/ (UPDATE 2), by Georgina Prodhan, expect by 1030 GMT/6.30 AM ET, 400 words)

Sale of blood transfusion test unit boosts Novartis Q1 profit

ZURICH - Two days after announcing a radical overhaul of its business, Novartis posts a 24 percent jump in first-quarter profit boosted by an exceptional gain from the sale of its blood transfusion test unit. (NOVARTIS-RESULTS (UPDATE 2), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Caroline Copley, 600 words)

Unilever sales top estimates; may sell Ragu, SlimFast

LONDON - Consumer goods maker Unilever reports higher-than-expected first-quarter underlying sales, despite a later Easter holiday and a slowing in some emerging markets. (UNILEVER RESULTS/, moved, 300 words)

Pernod sees Chinese weakness lasting through 2014

PARIS - French spirits maker Pernod Ricard expects the situation in China, where its sales sank 28 percent in the third quarter, to stay difficult through 2014, while it buys premium wine maker Kenwood Vineyards in the United States. (PERNOD-SALES/UPDATE 2), expect by 0900 GMT/6.30 AM ET, by Dominique Vidalon, 700 words)

Japan attack on wireless ‘oligopoly’ awkward for SoftBank

TOKYO - For Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, who wants to build the world’s largest mobile Internet company, criticism of his operations from regulators in his home market can not come at a worse time. (SOFTBANK-SON/OLIGOPOLY, moved, Yoshiyasu Shida, 1,100 words)

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