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Euro zone economy stutters as ECB gears up for action

LONDON - Price cuts by euro zone firms fail to prevent business growth from losing momentum in May, all but sealing the case for looser monetary policy a day before the European Central Bank meets. (EUROPE-ECONOMY/WRAP, moved, by Jonathan Cable, 700 words)

France's Hollande to discuss BNP fine with Obama

WARSAW/PARIS - French President Francois Hollande plans to raise concerns about a possible $10 billion-plus U.S. fine on BNP Paribas that he considers disproportionate with U.S. counterpart Barack Obama. (BNPPARIBAS-FRANCE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Elizabeth Pineau and Julien Ponthus, 470 words)

G7 powers to meet without Russia in summit snub over Ukraine

BRUSSELS - The world's leading industrialised nations meet without Russia for the first time in 17 years, leaving President Vladimir Putin out of the talks in retaliation for his seizure of Crimea and Russia's part in destabilising eastern Ukraine. (G7/, moved, by Luke Baker, 700 words)

Merkel eyes IMF's Lagarde for EU Commission chief-sources

PARIS - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has asked France whether it will be willing to put forward International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde as president of the European Commission, two French sources briefed on the exchanges said. (EU-COMMISSION/LAGARDE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Paul Taylor, 840 words)

+ See also:

- EU JUNCKER/MERKEL, moved, 100 words


Euro steadies in pre-ECB jockeying, US yields bolster dollar

LONDON - The dollar bobs near a 3-1/2 month high and shares dip for a second day, as the recent jump in U.S. borrowing costs and soft European data set markets up for what is expected to be an action-packed ECB meeting. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), moved, by Marc Jones, 910 words)

Investors bet ECB stimulus will boost share dividends

LONDON - Investors are betting that likely new stimulus measures from the European Central Bank will help shore up inflation and provide meatier dividends from euro zone companies for the rest of the decade, derivatives data shows. (EUROPE-STOCKS/DIVIDEND, moved, by Francesco Canepa, 630 words)

US yields set to spoil ECB easing party for emerging markets

LONDON - Emerging market bulls reckoning on a euro zone policy boost risk disappointment as an incipient rise in U.S. bond yields is likely to more than cancel out any supportive tailwinds from Europe. (EMERGING-ECB/FED, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Sujata Rao, 750 words)


U.S. trade deficit widens to two-year high

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit widens to its highest level in two years in April as imports hit a record high, suggesting trade could be a drag on second-quarter growth. (USA-ECONOMY (WRAPUP 1), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, 500 words)

+ See also:

- USA ECONOMY/EMPLOYMENT-ADP, moved, 100 words

- USA-ECONOMY/PRODUCTIVITY, moved, 300 words

Down on its luck: time to bet on France?

PARIS - A flatlining economy. The weakest profit margins in Europe. Stubbornly high labour costs despite the record unemployment that helped bring the hard-right National Front out on top in last week's EU election. Why would anyone invest in French companies? (FRANCE-COMPANIES/ (GRAPHICS), moved, by Andrew Callus and Alexandre Boksenbaum-Granier, 1,325 words)

ECB gives Lithuania green light to join euro zone next year

FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank gives Lithuania the all clear to join the euro zone next year as its 19th member, but raises concerns about future inflation in the Baltic state. (ECB/LITHUANIA, moved, 370 words)

+ See also:

- HUNGARY-ECB/, moved, 415 words

Egypt's FX black market under threat as confidence rises

CAIRO/DUBAI - Egypt's currency black market is under threat from two directions, as aid from wealthy Gulf states promises to ease a dollar shortage and an increasingly confident central bank engineers a gradual depreciation of the Egyptian pound. (EGYPT-CURRENCY/, moved, by Shadia Nasralla and Andrew Torchia, 1,300 words)

Reuters June foreign exchange poll

Reuters has surveyed more than 80 currency strategists on the outlook for dollar exchange rates against the euro, yen, sterling, Swiss franc, South African rand, Russian rouble and Turkish lira. The results will be published at 1320 GMT/9.20 AM ET. (MARKETS-FOREX-EURO/POLL, by Sumanta Dey, 600 words)

+ See also:

- MARKETS-FOREX-STERLING/POLL, by Jonathan Cable, 600 words

- MARKETS-FOREX-NORDICS/POLL, by Camilla Knudsen, 600 words

- MARKETS-FOREX-EMERGING/POLL, by Silvio Cascione, 600 words

- MARKETS-FOREX-CANADA/POLL, by Leah Schnurr, 600 words


Pressure mounts at Tesco as British sales slide worsens

LONDON - Britain's biggest retailer Tesco records its worst quarterly UK sales drop in 40 years, ratcheting up the pressure on boss Phil Clarke to show his turnaround plan can counter the challenges of the grocery industry. (TESCO-SALES/ (UPDATE 3), moving shortly, by James Davey and Kate Holton, 700 words)

Deutsche Bank prepares to price new shares at big discount

FRANKFURT - Deutsche Bank will price an 8 billion euro ($11 billion) capital increase, likely at a big discount, to fortify its balance sheet ahead of regulatory checks and to complete a costly restructuring. (DEUTSCHE BANK-CAPITAL/PRICING, moved, by Arno Schuetze and Kathrin Jones, 500 words)

Risk and rehabilitation: bankers meet to gauge progress

LONDON - How far banks are along the path to rehabilitation will be thrown into sharp focus this week when politicians, central bankers and bank bosses gather in London - Europe's finance capital and also the site of many of the industry's ills. (BANKING-IIF/, moved, by Steve Slater, 725 words)

Moscow bankers fear job cuts, search for new products

MOSCOW - A slide in Russian investment banking fees, prompted by the faltering economy and the Ukraine crisis, has led to fears that redundancies may follow and is causing Moscow bankers to explore alternative products to generate business amid an IPO drought. (RUSSIA-BANKING/, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Megan Davies, 1,055 words)

Regulators and reforms to revive Gulf IPOs, top lawyer says

DUBAI - Initial public offers of equity in Gulf Arab countries are set to boom, helped by lighter regulation and legal reforms as governments seek to diversify their oil-dependent economies, according to one of the region's top IPO lawyers. (MIDEAST-IPO/BOOM (INTERVIEW), moved, by Andrew Torchia, 900 words)

Mexico's Pemex ends 25-year partnership with Repsol

MADRID - Mexico's national oil company Pemex sells most of its stake in Spain's Repsol for 2.09 billion euros ($2.9 billion), ending a quarter-century partnership and freeing up cash to invest in its own energy sector. (REPSOL-PEMEX/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Tracy Rucinski, 550 words)

Opel plans to restore profits through closer GM ties

FRANKFURT - Loss-making car maker Opel aims to return to profit and increase its market share in Europe by focusing on smaller cars using more components from parent company General Motors, Chief Executive Karl-Thomas Neumann says. (GENERALMOTORS-OPEL/TARGETS, moved, by Edward Taylor, 720 words)

Hutchison, Vimpelcom resume Italian mobile talks - sources

LONDON - Hutchison Whampoa has resumed talks with Russian telecoms group Vimpelcom over merging their Italian mobile firms, encouraged by Hutchison's 3 getting the go-ahead last week for an acquisition in Ireland, according to several people familiar with the situation. (ITALY-TELECOMS/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Sophie Sassard and Pamela Barbaglia, 820 words)

Airport retailer Dufry expands globally with Nuance deal

ZURICH/LONDON - Swiss travel retailer Dufry is buying rival Nuance for 1.55 billion Swiss francs ($1.7 billion), expanding its presence in Asia and cementing its position as the world's largest duty-free retailer ahead of Hong Kong-based DFS Group. (DUFRY-NUANCE/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Katharina Bart and Chris Vellacott, 740 words)

Swedish car safety pioneer Autoliv bucks margin trend

STOCKHOLM - Based in high-cost Sweden and serving a global auto industry notorious for forcing down prices, Autoliv, the world's top car safety equipment maker, still achieves margins that some of its customers and rivals can only dream of. (AUTOLIV/, moved, by Helena Soderpalm and Niklas Pollard, 950 words)

S.Africa's mining strike could end this week -mines minister

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's new mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi says he hopes to resolve the strike in the platinum sector this week, and union AMCU is also optimistic the five-month stoppage that has crippled mine output could be nearing an end. (SAFRICA-STRIKES/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 365 words)

In rush to embrace diversity, firms overlook the disabled

Caroline Ashrafi, who built a successful career as a manager at KPMG in Britain while privately struggling with mental health problems, recalls being sent on a management training course on how to retain talented women. (EMPLOYMENT-DIVERSITY/ (PICTURE), moved, by Carmel Crimmins, 1,245 words)