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  • HONG KONG, May 28- China's push for a municipal bond market could increase the pressure on those provinces already struggling to fund massive debt piles, effectively creating a two-tier market dominated by its major cities and financially strong regions.

  • TOKYO, May 28- Japanese stocks rose for a fifth day on Wednesday as strong U.S. data buoyed market sentiment, but Mitsui Fudosan Co fell on news it would raise as much as $3.6 billion by issuing new shares. The benchmark Nikkei average ended 0.2 percent higher to 14,670.95. Mitsui Fudosan dropped 4.7 percent and was the second-most traded stock by turnover.

  • *Pensions are most stable income in most of southern Europe. MADRID/ MILAN, May 28- When Angel Gomez and Maria Luisa Fernandez retired a decade ago, they imagined spending their pensions largely on restaurant meals, holidays and toys for the grandkids.

  • TOKYO, May 28- Strong economic data in the United States shored up Asian stocks to one-year highs on Wednesday, with another record close for the S&P 500 underpinning risk appetite and sending safe-haven gold to 3-1/ 2 month lows.

  • MOSCOW, May 28- Russia may introduce minimum cigarette pricing as early as next year to curb smoking in a further restriction on the $20 billion market, business daily Vedomosti reported on Wednesday. Currently the cheapest pack of cigarettes in Russia sells at 39 roubles.

  • *Now scrambling to catch up with China, France and other rivals. BERLIN, May 28- German industry's representative in Angola, Ricardo Gerigk, has a tough job drumming up business in Luanda, the costliest city in the world for expats, where contracts tend to go to firms from China, Portugal and other countries with a bigger presence.

  • BANGKOK, May 28- Thailand's trade shrank in April and factory output fell for a 13th straight month, underscoring the damage political unrest has caused and the tough job the new military government faces reviving an economy that contracted in the first quarter.

  • *Libya oil guards protest at Hariga port, disrupt operations. SINGAPORE, May 28- Brent futures rose on Wednesday, holding above $110 a barrel on renewed optimism over steady demand growth in the world's top oil consumer the United States following healthy economic data, with supply disruption concerns providing additional support.

  • *Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar have soared ahead of MSCI move. DUBAI, May 28- When index compiler MSCI upgrades the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to emerging market status at the end of this week, it will put those countries on the global investment map.

  • HONG KONG, May 28- China's yuan flirted with fresh 18- month lows against the dollar on Wednesday as investors focused on a raft of negative news from the property sector as further evidence of a spreading slowdown in the economy.

  • WASHINGTON, May 28- This summer is likely to see a series of attacks by industry opponents of a U.S. plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants in a bid to stir voter anger ahead of elections in November, when voters in states such as Kentucky and West Virginia may determine whether Democrats keep control of the Senate.

  • NEW YORK, May 28- Cotton merchants are waiting months to take delivery of fiber from U.S. warehouses, tightening supplies and fueling fears the niche market is in the grip of a storage game that plunged aluminum trading into crisis.

  • BRASILIA, May 28- Brazil will likely stop raising interest rates on Wednesday to avoid choking an already weak economy even if inflation remains stubbornly high.

  • TIMELINE-Early signs of pushback over U.S. drug prices Wednesday, 28 May 2014 | 1:00 AM ET

    May 28- Gilead Sciences' $84,000 treatment for hepatitis C, Sovaldi, has broken the sales record for drug launches and caused a backlash among insurers concerned by the cost.

  • FACTBOX-Paying for Sovaldi in the United States Wednesday, 28 May 2014 | 1:00 AM ET

    *Commercial insurers and Medicare Part D providers such as Express Scripts accounted for 90 percent of the more than $2 billion spent on Sovaldi in the United States during the first quarter, according to Gilead.

  • *Hong Kong markets lifted by U.S. data. HONG KONG, May 28- Hong Kong shares climbed on Wednesday led by strength in financial stocks, tracking gains in other Asian markets as upbeat U.S. economic data lifted sentiment. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong jumped 1.4 percent.

  • *RBI to hold repo rate at 8.00 pct at June 3 meeting. BANGALORE, May 28- The Reserve Bank of India is likely to keep monetary policy steady in June despite sluggish economic activity as inflation remains elevated, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

  • *Libya oil guards protest at Hariga port, disrupt operations. SINGAPORE, May 28- Brent futures rose on Wednesday, holding above $110 a barrel on renewed optimism over steady demand growth in the world's top oil consumer the United States following healthy economic data, with supply disruption concerns providing additional support.

  • RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif., May 27- Google Inc is building cars that don't have steering wheels, accelerator pedals or brake pedals, in an ambitious expansion of the Internet company's efforts to develop self-driving cars.

  • *Renesas SP Driver is chip supplier for Apple iPhone screens. TOKYO, May 28- Renesas Electronics Corp plans to sell its majority stake in a maker of iPhone display chips to Synaptics Inc, another smartphone chip supplier, according to sources familiar with the matter.