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  • LONDON, April 16- Unilever reported better-than-expected sales for the first quarter on Thursday, showing improvement from the hammering it took last year from weak emerging markets including a slowdown in China. Huet told Reuters that Unilever's full-year sales growth would probably come in at the upper end of its prior stated goal of 2 to 4 percent.

  • LONDON, April 16- Shares in French drugmaker Ipsen and its Swedish partner Active Biotech fell sharply on Thursday after the companies announced an experimental medicine had failed to extend lives for prostate cancer sufferers. As a result, the companies said they had decided to discontinue all studies of tasquinimod in prostate cancer, torpedoing sales...

  • SINGAPORE, April 16- Brent crude oil hit 2015 highs above $63 per barrel on Thursday after a rally of more than 5 percent the previous session, and analysts said more price rises were likely despite market oversupply. Front-month Brent crude futures rose above $63 a barrel for the first time this year on Thursday, although they had dipped back to $62.70 by 0654 GMT.

  • The Shanghai branch of China's central bank has ordered commercial lenders to check for risks in their margin trading business, and submit their margin trading accounts and list connected wealth management products. To caution against risks, China's top securities regulator, Xiao Gang, on Thursday urged stocks investors to be "rational and calm".

  • PARIS, April 16- European stocks slipped in early trading on Thursday, halting their recent sharp rally, with shares in Diageo dropping after it posted a fall in sales. At 0707 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.3 percent at 1,645.20 points. Diageo, the world's largest spirits maker, was down 2.6 percent after saying net sales in the...

  • ZURICH, April 16- Swiss cement maker Holcim said on Thursday it expects the first tranche of new shares in its tie-up with France's Lafarge to be listed on exchanges in Zurich and Paris in mid July. In an invitation to shareholders, Holcim proposed increasing share capital through issuing up to 264.237 million fully paid-in registered shares with a par value of 2...

  • TOKYO, April 16- Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said official-level talks on a two-way trade deal with the United States are moving toward a ministerial meeting, Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday. "There are various proposals from both sides to narrow gaps," Kyodo quoted Amari as saying. President Barack Obama in Washington on April 28 for a summit...

  • UPDATE 1-Sodexo keeps goals after H1 profit rises Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 3:04 AM ET

    PARIS, April 16- French catering, facilities management and vouchers group Sodexo kept its full-year goals on Thursday after operating profit rose 8.6 percent in the first half, helped by cost cuts and new contracts in North America and emerging economies. Sodexo, which manages canteens and facilities for office workers, armed forces, schools, hospitals and...

  • Unilever first-quarter sales beat expectations Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 2:58 AM ET

    Unilever reported better than expected sales for the first quarter on Thursday, showing improvement from the hammering it took last year.

  • LONDON, April 16- Unilever chief financial officer narrowed the consumer goods giant's sales growth goal on Thursday after a strong start to the year, helped by an early Easter holiday and a better-than-expected performance in China. The maker of Dove soap and Ben& Jerry's ice cream said in January it expected full-year sales growth of about 2 to 4 percent.

  • Benchmark JGBs pare losses after solid 20-year sale Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 2:49 AM ET

    TOKYO, April 16- Benchmark Japanese government bonds slipped slightly on Thursday but were well off their session low after solid demand at an auction of 20- year JGBs. The benchmark 10- year yield inched up half a basis point to 0.325 percent, after earlier rising to a nearly one-week high of 0.350 percent. The Ministry of Finance offered 1.2 trillion yen of 20-...

  • Gunvor says sells stake in Russian coal producer Kolmar Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 2:42 AM ET

    MOSCOW, April 16- Energy trader Gunvor has sold its 30 percent stake in Russian coal producer Kolmar, the Swiss-based trader said on Thursday. It said in a statement the stake had been sold to Mokara Enterprises Limited, which is owned by Russian businessman Andrei Bokarev, an investor in coal mining and logistics assets, transportation and industrial processes.

  • Russia's Raspadskaya Q1 coal output down 16 pct q/q Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 2:23 AM ET

    MOSCOW, April 16- Russian coking coal miner Raspadskaya produced 2.8 million tonnes of coal in the first quarter of 2015, down 16 percent quarter-on-quarter, the company said on Thursday.

  • Diageo quarterly sales fall Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 2:23 AM ET

    LONDON, April 16- Diageo, the world's largest spirits maker, reported slower quarterly trading on Thursday, hurt by tough comparisons in Britain and retailers reducing inventory in Southeast Asia. The quarterly report is the last of its kind for Diageo, which will do only half-year reporting from next financial year. Analysts were hoping for signs of...

  • TOKYO, April 16- Japanese stocks edged up on Thursday, as buying in oil and mining shares reversed early losses, offsetting profit-taking in recent gainers such as food stocks, while Sharp Corp surged on restructuring hopes. Rising oil prices lifted oil and mining stocks, with Inpex Corp soaring 5.4 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration gaining 3.8 percent.

  • Unilever first-quarter sales better than expected Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 2:15 AM ET

    LONDON, April 16- Unilever reported better than expected sales for the first quarter on Thursday, showing improvement from the hammering it took last year from weak emerging markets including a slowdown in China. Unilever had forecast in January that sales would rise by between 2 percent and 4 percent in 2015, with the first quarter at the low end of the range and...

  • TOKYO, April 16- Japan's Sharp Corp and its main banks are set to agree on Thursday to a $1.7 billion rescue and restructuring plan that will likely include a promise to split off its ailing smartphone display business, a person involved in the discussions said. As part of its second major bailout in three years, Sharp's lenders, Mizuho Bank and Bank of...

  • *Chips from client Qualcomm dropped by Samsung. TAIPEI, April 16- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd reported a 65 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Thursday, beating analyst estimates, boosted by strong sales of iPhones from main client Apple Inc.. Company-watchers are skittish about the firm's future as competition intensifies to produce...

  • SHANGHAI, April 16- Nearly five months after the People's Bank of China signalled the start of an easing cycle with its first interest rate cut since 2012, real borrowing rates are finally falling. "Money is cheap again," said Zhang Gang, senior stock analyst at Central Securities in Shanghai, and a senior trader at a big state-owned bank agrees.

  • SINGAPORE/ SYDNEY, April 16- The Australian dollar gained a lift from strong Australian jobs data, while the greenback struggled to gain traction after weak U.S. output data added to uncertainty over the timing of a Federal Reserve interest rate rise. The Australian dollar climbed 0.9 percent to $0.7752 as upbeat Australian jobs data prompted the market to...