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  • LONDON, April 24- AstraZeneca announced faster-than-expected progress of its experimental cancer drugs and plans to spin off billions of dollars of non-core assets as it staked a claim for independence following reports of bid interest from Pfizer.

  • LONDON, April 24- Barclays Chairman David Walker defended pay levels at the bank on Thursday, telling shareholders that it needed to raise bonuses to stop an exodus of senior executives.

  • UPDATE 3-Alstom shares jump on report of GE bid Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 | 8:08 AM ET

    *Alstom shares up more than 14 percent. *GE declines to comment; Bouygues supports Alstom strategy. A deal, which would be GE's biggest ever and would hand it control of Alstom's high-speed TGV trains and rail-signal technology, has the support of Bouygues, Alstom's biggest shareholder with a 29 percent stake, the report said.

  • *Bourse looking to expand in China, rest of Asia. "Ten-25 percent on any given day of outright trading on the electronic system comes from Asia," LME Chief Executive Garry Jones said at a conference in Hong Kong, adding that overall electronic trade volumes grew 28 percent last year.

  • LONDON, April 24- Starbucks suffered its first ever drop in UK sales last year, a period when the company became the subject of boycotts and public criticism over its tax practices.

  • LONDON, April 24- Oil edged further above $109 a barrel on Thursday as the dispute between Russia and the West over Ukraine added to supply concerns, although record U.S. crude inventories kept gains in check.

  • *Physical copper premiums in China rising sharply. LONDON, April 24- Copper touched its strongest level in three weeks on Thursday and nickel surged to a new 14- month peak as seasonal Chinese demand for metals ramped up and concerns over nickel supplies prompted more speculative buying. "People are looking for slightly firmer demand out of China.

  • Oil near $102 on Ukraine crisis, Libya export woes Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 | 4:38 AM ET

    The price of oil rebounded to near $102 a barrel Thursday on worries about tensions in Ukraine and continued concerns about crude exports from Libya and Nigeria. By early afternoon in Europe, U.S. crude for June delivery was up 34 cents to $101.78 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • Global stocks higher, Tokyo drops on trade woes Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 | 3:40 AM ET

    TOKYO— Global shares were mixed with European shares getting an early boost Thursday, but stocks in Tokyo slipped after talks between Japan's prime minister and visiting President Barack Obama failed to finalize a trade agreement.

  • *Physical copper premiums in China rising sharply. SINGAPORE, April 24- London copper futures rose to three-week highs on Thursday, underpinned by strong seasonal demand in top consumer China that has lifted domestic premiums, while worries over tight supply pushed nickel to a fresh peak in more than 14 months.

  • HONG KONG, April 24- Up to a quarter of electronic trading volume on the London Metal Exchange comes from Asia- based participants, the bourse's head said on Thursday.

  • SINGAPORE, April 24- 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.

  • April 23- The disagreements around the spin-out of certain assets that had snagged merger talks between Barrick Gold Corp and its rival, Newmont Mining Corp, have been resolved but talks are at a standstill for now, said three sources familiar with the matter on Wednesday.

  • Business Highlights Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 | 5:17 PM ET

    Apple increases stock buyback, raises dividend. CUPERTINO, Calif.— Apple Inc. plans to buy back an additional $30 billion of its stock and raise its quarterly dividend by 8 percent amid a slowdown in revenue growth.

  • *Heavy stop-loss orders possible if $1,275 support breached. NEW YORK/ LONDON, April 23- Gold prices edged up on Wednesday, holding above a technical stronghold at $1,275 an ounce, though the metal is vulnerable to further losses as investor demand remains slack, analysts said.

  • *Wall Street edges lower after six-day S&P rally. In Europe, rising worries over Ukraine also weighed, offsetting data that showed Germany continued to power the euro zone's recovery. Strong results from Boeing failed to inspire Wall Street investors to keep pushing equities higher.

  • *FDI fell to $3 billion in year to June 2013. CAIRO, April 23- A new Egyptian law that prevents third parties from challenging contracts made with the government may encourage foreign investors but critics say it will increase scope for corruption.

  • In Europe, rising worries over Ukraine also weighed, offsetting data that showed Germany continued to power the euro zone's recovery. Strong results from Boeing failed to inspire Wall Street investors to keep pushing equities higher.

  • LONDON, April 23- British over-50s insurer Saga is planning to announce its intention to float next week in a London stock market debut that could value the company at 3 billion pounds, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

  • The ban on exports of unprocessed minerals by Indonesia, the world's biggest nickel ore supplier, was felt sharply last month when its shipments to top buyer China fell to less than a million tonnes from an average of 3.4 million tonnes a month last year.

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