LONDON, April 20- U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has approached British rival AstraZeneca to propose a 60 billion pound takeover, Britain's Sunday Times reported.» Read More
*First quarter earnings/share $0.96 vs est $1.02. Dec 11- Costco Wholesale Corp reported a first-quarter profit and sales that fell short of analysts' estimates, hurt by a rise in operating expenses. Profit rose to $425 million, or 96 cents per share, in the first quarter ended Nov. 24 from $416 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.
*Majority expect Fed to begin tapering in March. WASHINGTON, Dec 11- U.S. growth is set to accelerate in 2014, giving the Federal Reserve room to start dialing back its massive monetary stimulus, certainly by March, according to a Reuters poll.
Dec 11- JPMorgan Chase& Co CEO Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday he was thankful congressional leaders had reached a budget deal and was "less worried" about the impact of an eventual scaling back of the Federal Reserve's market-friendly stimulus measures.
Pilots of an Asiana Airlines plane that crash-landed in San Francisco in July tried to correct it in the final seconds before impact.
Dec 11- Shares of Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc fell 17 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday, a day after the company said its experimental drug failed to reduce pain in patients with multiple sclerosis. Avanir also reported fourth-quarter results that fell shy of Wall Street estimates.
ISTANBUL, Dec 11- Turkey's state-run Halkbank can only resume processing Indian oil payments to Iran once Western sanctions are officially lifted following an interim deal in Geneva last month, a senior Halkbank official said on Wednesday.
*Costco shares drop after profit misses estimates. NEW YORK, Dec 11- Wall Street was set to open little changed on Wednesday as investors assessed a provisional budget deal reached in Washington and its potential impact on an expected wind-down of Federal Reserve stimulus.
NEW YORK, Dec 11- Barnes& Noble Inc Chairman Leonard Riggio has sold 2 million of his shares in the bookstore chain he founded, lowering his stake in the company to 26.3 percent, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday. Riggio sold the 2 million shares on Tuesday for $13.81 apiece, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
WASHINGTON, Dec 11- The number of people seeking health insurance under Obamacare more than doubled in November to around 250,000, according to a government report on Wednesday, showing the landmark healthcare law is still far from its goal of extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 11- Microsoft Corp has sold more than 2 million Xbox One video game consoles since its Nov. 22 launch, catching up with rival Sony Corp's PlayStation 4 released a week earlier. Japan's Sony last week said it took 15 days for PS4 sales to cross 2.1 million.
Dec 11- Canadian department store operator Hudson's Bay Co reported a lower-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit due to higher expenses, but same-store sales at its Lord& Taylor chain in the United States returned to growth. Excluding acquisition-related and restructuring costs, Hudson's Bay earned C $8.9 million, or 7 Canadian cents per share.
TORONTO, Dec 11- Lululemon Athletica Inc's incoming chief executive, Laurent Potdevin, will be paid a base salary of $900,000 as well as signing and retention bonuses, the upscale yogawear retailer said in a regulatory filing made public on Wednesday.
ROME, Dec 11- Prime Minister Enrico Letta called on parliament on Wednesday to back his government or risk chaos as he sought to push through long-avoided reforms intended to revive Italy's economy after two years of recession.
Dec 11- CytRx Corp said its experimental cancer drug improved survival rates in soft tissue sarcoma patients without the disease progressing, compared to chemotherapy alone, sending its shares up 75 percent before the bell. The treatment was found to be safe and well-tolerated, the CytRx said on Wednesday. CytRx's shares were trading at $3.94 before the bell.
WASHINGTON, Dec 11- Pilots of an Asiana Airlines plane that crash-landed in San Francisco in July were aware that the plane was traveling too slowly and tried to correct it in the final seconds before impact, documents released on Wednesday by U.S. aviation safety investigators show.
*Costco shares drop after profit misses estimates. NEW YORK, Dec 11- U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors assessed a provisional budget deal reached in Washington and its potential impact of an expected wind-down of Federal Reserve stimulus.
MOSCOW, Dec 11- The Russian public have picked a first official symbol for the rouble, choosing a sign the central bank said would enhance the appeal of the once-tarnished currency on global markets. "I believe that the approved symbol will worthily represent our currency on the world markets," Governor Elvira Nabiullina said at its presentation.
*Copper, zinc flip into backwardation. LONDON, Dec 11- Copper steadied on Wednesday near a one-month high hit the previous day after three sessions of gains on the back of solid demand from top metals consumer China.
LUXEMBOURG, Dec 11- Microsoft fended off a challenge to its $8.5 billion takeover of messaging service Skype when Europe's second-highest court ruled against claims by rival Cisco that the 2011 deal would harm competition.
PARIS, Dec 11- Brisk world demand and shrinking supplies, notably in competing Black Sea countries, are likely to drive soft wheat exports from the European Union to record highs this season, beating earlier expectations.