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May 23, 2014 / 1:20 PM / 4 years ago

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TOP STORIES

German economy to slow after strongest quarter in 3 years

BERLIN - Germany’s economy grows at its fastest rate in three years in the first quarter, driven by domestic factors, while a leading indicator of sentiment signalled that expansion in Europe’s largest economy is set to slow. (GERMANY-GDP/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Annika Breidthardt, 540 words)

Sanctions will have boomerang effect on west - Putin

ST PETERSBURG, Russia - President Vladimir Putin says the U.S. “unipolar” vision of the world has failed and sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis will have a boomerang effect on the West. (RUSSIA FORUM/PUTIN SANCTIONS (UPDATE 1, TV, PICTURE), moved, by Alexei Anishchuk, 400 words)

Barclays slapped with $44 mln fine over gold price fix

LONDON - Barclays Plc has been fined 26 million pounds ($43.8 million) for failures in internal controls that allowed a trader to manipulate the setting of gold prices, just a day after the bank was fined for rigging Libor interest rates in 2012. (BARCLAYS-REGULATIONS/GOLD (UPDATE 3), moved, by Steve Slater and Huw Jones, 795 words)

+ See also:

- GOLD-FIX/ (FACTBOX), moved, 580 words

Dexia exemption tests Europe’s bank health checks

BRUSSELS - The exemption of Franco-Belgian Dexia from the full rigours of the stress test on European banks could lead to a series of peers seeking exceptional treatment, undermining the confidence the tests are designed to breathe into the financial sector. (DEXIA-TESTS/ECB, moved, by Philip Blenkinsop and Leigh Thomas, 500 words)

MARKETS & INVESTMENT

ECB easing bets push euro to 3-month low

LONDON - The euro falls to a three-month low against the dollar and stocks and bonds in the region climb, after a wobble in German business confidence adds to expectations that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates next month (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP), moved, by Marc Jones, 850 words)

BlackRock’s Thiel: periphery bond holdings lowest in 2 years

LONDON - One of Blackrock’s bond funds has trimmed its peripheral bonds holdings to their lowest since the height of the euro zone crisis, the firm’s head of European and Global bonds says. (MARKETS-BONDS/BLACKROCK, moved, by John Geddie and Marius Zaharia, 370 words)

Fragile Five emerging markets ride out election risks

LONDON - As elections pass off smoothly in several Fragile Five emerging markets and early reforms make them less fragile, worries about political risk have switched to frontier markets and to the fulfillment of reform mandates. (EMERGINGMARKETS-RISKS, expect by 1700 GMT/1 PM ET, by Carolyn Cohn, 900 words)

Russian bears keep European firms in their sights

LONDON - Russia, once seen as a growth Eldorado for many European firms highly exposed to the country, is now an albatross around their neck as investors worry the Ukraine crisis is set to fester. (MARKETS-EUROPE/STOCKS-RUSSIA, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Atul Prakash, 1,000 words)

SPECIAL REPORTS

Russian Railways paid billions to secretive companies

MOSCOW - A Reuters investigation of state-owned Russian Railways finds it paid billions of dollars to private contractors that disguised their ultimate owners and have little or no presence at their registered headquarters. (RUSSIA-CAPITALISM/RAILWAYS (SPECIAL REPORT, PIX, TV, GRAPHICS), moved, by Douglas Busvine, Stephen Grey, Roman Anin and Himanshu Ojha, 3,000 words)

The power struggle behind China’s corruption crackdown

BEIJING/HONG KONG - Liu Han, a flamboyant mining tycoon from China’s Sichuan province, is sentenced to death after sensational trial on charges of murder, gun-running, fraud and other offenses. Liu’s most serious offence, however, could be political. (CHINA-CORRUPTION/(SPECIAL REPORT, PICTURE, GRAPHICS), moved, by Benjamin Kang Lim, David Lague and Charlie Zhu; 2,500 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-CORRUPTION/LIU (PICTURE), moved, by David Lague and Charlie Zhu, 1,400 words

ECONOMY

ECB heads to Portugal to launch annual central banker forum

FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank launches its own version of the prestigious Jackson Hole annual retreat in Portugal on Sunday, inviting policymakers and academics to debate ahead of June’s crunch policy meeting. (ECB/CONFERENCE, moved, by Eva Taylor, 455 word)

+ See also:

- ECB/LAUTENSCHLAEGER, moved, 325 words)

S&P affirms Turkey ratings but warns on inconsistent policy

ISTANBUL - Standard & Poor’s affirms its ratings on Turkey but warns its policy environment has become less predictable ahead of two elections and could weigh on the economy’s resilience to external shocks and long-term growth. (TURKEY-RATINGS/S&P (UPDATE 1), moved, by Seda Sezer, 360 words)

+ See also:

- SPAIN-RATINGS/S&P (UPDATE 1), moved, 350 words

- GREECE RATINGS/FITCH, moved, 350 words

Drillers hopeful U.S. will ease oil export ban

WASHINGTON - Recent meetings between U.S. oil producers and Commerce Department officials have fuelled industry hopes that the Obama administration may soon begin to ease a longstanding ban on oil exports. (USA-OIL/EXPORTS, moved, by Valerie Volcovici, 1,080 words)

Like New Jersey, most states felt drop in April income taxes

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO - New Jersey, which revealed a massive budget shortfall this week, is far from alone in feeling the pinch of lower income tax revenues in the key month of April, a Reuters analysis shows. (USA-STATE/TAXES (EXCLUSIVE, GRAPHIC), moved, by Lisa Lambert and Karen Pierog, 1,020 words)

Energy-rich Gulf goes hungry for gas

DUBAI/KUWAIT - In the space of just 72 hours last week core OPEC oil producer Kuwait lined up $15 billion worth of gas supply from BP and Royal Dutch Shell to help meet soaring demand. (MIDEAST-GAS/, moved, by Rania El Gamal and Sylvia Westall, 825 words)

COMPANIES

HSBC’s CEO rules out major changes to investment bank

LONDON - HSBC’s Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver tells shareholders that Europe’s biggest bank has no plans to follow rivals by dramatically reshaping its investment bank. (HSBC-DIVIDENDS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham, 355 words)

BlackRock wants new Astra-Pfizer talks at later date-sources

LONDON - BlackRock Inc, AstraZeneca Plc’s largest shareholder, wants the drugmaker to resume talks with Pfizer Inc about a potential sale eventually, but backs its decision this week to reject Pfizer’s current bid, according to two people familiar with the matter. (ASTRAZENECA-PFIZER/BLACKROCK, moved, by Simon Jessop and Ben Hirschler, 300 words)

Areva keen on Alstom’s wind contracts, not technology-source

PARIS - France’s nuclear group Areva will be interested in Alstom’s offshore wind turbine contracts but will use its own turbine technology rather than the engineering group‘s, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters. (ALSTOM-AREVA/WINDPOWER, moved, by Geert De Clercq and Benjamin Mallet, 910 words)

+ See also:

- GENERAL ELECTRIC-ALSTOM/EXTENSION (UPDATE 2), moved, 355 words

French central bank says closely watching BNP’s U.S. case

PARIS - The French central bank says it is closely monitoring risks related to a U.S. probe of BNP Paribas which may cost France’s biggest listed bank a multi-billion dollar fine and its reputation in one its growth markets. (BNP PARIBAS-NOYER/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 395 words)

UK’s Saga shares up slightly in market debut

LONDON - Shares in Saga, a UK travel and insurance company specialising in the over 50s, rise slightly on their debut, giving some relief to its crowd of retail investors after the issue price was cut to the bottom of its preset range. (SAGA-IPO/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Freya Berry, 655 words)

Perfume industry braces for tough new EU rules

PARIS - The $31 billion-a-year perfume industry is bracing itself for tighter EU regulations to be adopted by the end of the year that will include ingredient bans and labelling requirements aimed at protecting consumers from allergies. (EU-PERFUME/ (PICTURE), moved, by Astrid Wendlandt and Pascale Denis, 780 words)

Bookies ready themselves for record World Cup

LONDON/DUBLIN - Tech-savvy gamblers using smartphones and tablets to bet on live match action will help to make next month’s soccer World Cup the most lucrative sports event ever for British bookmakers and bring welcome relief from tough market conditions. (SOCCER-WORLD/BETTING, moved, by Keith Weir and Padraic Halpin, 830 words)

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