IMF board expresses confidence in Managing Director Lagarde despite French investigation Mexico's Pemex estimates crude production will increase to 2.4 million bpd in 2015 As stocks pass a milestone, investors wonder if it's time to sell.» Read More
*Russia offers Ukraine natgas discount. *Washington warns Russia of further sanctions over Ukraine. Libya's El Feel oilfield was shut again by protesters and the El Sharara field remained closed, an official at the National Oil Corporation said on Friday.
OTTAWA, May 16- Possible changes to make it harder to bring temporary foreign workers into Canada may force some restaurants to curb their hours or even shut down, and could hamper important exports if not properly structured, employers groups warned on Friday.
*Greenback holds above two-month low against yen. NEW YORK, May 16- The dollar held a slim gain against a basket of major currencies on Friday as benchmark U.S. "Falling yields have been problematic for the dollar," said Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in New York.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 16- China's top search engine Baidu Inc has hired Google Inc's former artificial intelligence chief Andrew Ng to spearhead research in a field that promises to show Internet companies how to maximize use of their vast data trove.
*Brent rises above $109, Libya oil recovery short-lived. NEW YORK, May 16- Global equity markets turned higher late on Friday after being down most of the session on concerns about economic growth, while government debt prices fell on surprisingly strong U.S. housing data.
"There is not a lot of business being done," said Mark Schultz, analyst at Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis. The market... has anticipated the crop getting planted, "said Bill Gentry, broker at Risk Management Commodities. For the week, Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat was down 5.5 percent, its biggest weekly decline in four months.
*Fed buys $970 million in bonds due 2040-2043. NEW YORK, May 16- U.S. That's causing the sell-off, "said Michael Chang, an interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse in New York.
BEIJING, May 16- China Southern Airlines Co Ltd on Friday said it has ordered 80 aircraft from Airbus Group NV worth at least $7.3 billion. China Southern will also sell 6 Embraer SA E145 jets and components to Airbus before year-end, reducing capacity by 0.02 percent, the Guangzhou- based carrier said in a statement on its website.
BERLIN, May 16- The German government has tightened tender rules for sensitive public IT contracts in the wake of reports about mass surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Friday.
May 16- Adobe Systems Inc said on Friday that access to its Creative Cloud was restored following an outage that disrupted the Web-based, subscription service to top-selling software programs including Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash for about a day.
*Industry lobby still hopes to sway Merkel on Russia stance. BERLIN, May 16- German industry is ramping up efforts to dissuade Chancellor Angela Merkel from imposing tough new economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, warning of lasting damage to domestic firms and the broader economy if Moscow is hit hard.
BRUSSELS, May 16- Hutchison Whampoa is set to gain regulatory clearance for its $1 billion bid for Telefonica's Irish business as soon as it signs a separate deal aimed at creating a fourth mobile operator in Ireland, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
NEW YORK, May 16- Dow Jones& Co has won a court order to stop the London- based service Ransquawk from broadcasting its news content within seconds of publication, without permission, to traders and other subscribers. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan will be enforced.
NEW YORK, May 16- A federal appeals court in New York on Friday upheld Ross Mandell's conviction and 12- year prison term for running an alleged $140 million trans-Atlantic boiler room fraud, rejecting his claim that he could not be prosecuted under U.S. securities laws because much of the case was foreign.
NEW YORK, May 16- A week after concluding a controversial settlement with Chevron Corp, law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs is seeking to close the biggest law firm merger so far this year by as early as next week, according to four sources familiar with the matter.
NEW DELHI, May 16- If prime minister-elect Narendra Modi can revive a faltering economy, as his people clearly believe he can, India may finally be able to deal with overseas allies, foes and rivals from a position of strength. Dating back to the Cold War, India has tended to avoid close alliances.
*J.C. Penney, Nordstrom soar a day after results. NEW YORK, May 16- U.S. stocks slipped on Friday, trimming some of their earlier declines after some positive earnings, though investors remained wary of lingering weakness in small-cap names.
*GM $35 mln fine is most allowed under U.S. transport agency. WASHINGTON, May 16- General Motors Co was slapped on Friday with a $35 million U.S. fine for its delayed response to an ignition switch defect in millions of vehicles. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the fine, which is the maximum the agency can impose.
*Sees 2015 capital spend $5.5- $6.0 bln, higher than 2014 forecast. May 16- Chesapeake Energy Corp said it expects to sell more than $4 billion in assets this year and will spin off its oilfield services division as the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer focuses on drilling more profitable wells and improving returns.
*Euro STOXX 50 rises 0.3 pct to 3,172.72 points. LONDON, May 16- Corporate takeover activity propped up European equities on Friday, allowing key indexes to recover after a sell-off in the previous session caused by weak economic data in Portugal and Italy. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also rose 0.3 percent, to 3,172.72 points.