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  • PARIS, May 15- France's decision to expand its veto powers over strategic sectors to give it some leverage on the future of engineering group Alstom reflects a rare area of policy consensus that resonates across the political spectrum.

  • MONTERREY, May 15- The board of Mexican cement giant Cemex will meet this week to pick a successor to Lorenzo Zambrano, the company's longtime chairman and chief executive officer, who died suddenly on Monday leaving no apparent heir. *Fernando Gonzalez, 59, born in Mexico, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration.

  • BOSTON, May 15- Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc failed to win a majority of shareholder support for its executive pay on Thursday, a noteworthy rebuke for the Denver restaurant chain that has been one of its industry's top performers.

  • In December, Hodges Capital quietly introduced the Hodges Small-Mid Cap fund, which focuses on companies whose market values reach up to $8 billion. That is well above the $3 billion threshold in the $1.2 billion Hodges Small Cap fund for which the Dallas- based firm is best known.

  • Lisbon and Milan stock markets hit by weak economic data. LONDON, May 15- News that the Portuguese and Italian economies contracted in the first quarter hit shares in Lisbon and Milan on Thursday, knocking back European stock markets from multi-year highs.

  • NEW YORK, May 15- Benchmark U.S. "There has been a little bit of a breakdown in European peripheral debt, that seemed to set off a little bit of a' risk off' trade... despite the fact that we got a firm set of data this morning," said Dan Mulholland, managing director in Treasuries trading at BNY Mellon in New York.

  • *Wheat down 7.4 percent during losing streak. Wheat and soybean futures also were lower, with wheat dropping for the seventh day in a row due to ample global supplies that were chilling demand for U.S. offerings on the export market.

  • MOSCOW, May 15- Middle East crude producers played down the threat of a competitive battle with Russia over Asian markets at a Moscow energy conference on Thursday, even while Russian comments emphasized its push to the east.

  • QUEBEC CITY, May 15- Interest rates are likely to stay low for an extended period, posing a major challenge to the pension industry, Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Lawrence Schembri said on Thursday.

  • ATHENS, May 15- Europe's energy commissioner said on Thursday he saw progress in resolving the row over gas prices between Kiev and Moscow and expected one, perhaps two more rounds of ministerial talks on the issue before the end of May.

  • *Five new recalls unrelated to faulty ignition switch. DETROIT, May 15- General Motors Co said on Thursday it has issued five more recalls, covering almost 3 million vehicles globally, and is expected to take a charge of up to $200 million. Most of the vehicles were sold in the United States.

  • METALS-Nickel recoups some losses after falling 10 pct Thursday, 15 May 2014 | 12:26 PM ET

    LONDON, May 15- Nickel prices recouped some losses on Thursday, paring an earlier 10 percent fall as investors seized the opportunity to jump back into a market, where there are expectations of future gains as supply shortages become more severe.

  • *Gold breaks below $1,300 psychological level. NEW YORK/ LONDON, May 15- Gold fell almost 1 percent on Thursday on technical selling after prices broke below $1,300 an ounce, and as U.S. jobless claims data and consumer prices pointed to a firming economy.

  • The strike is the latest in a series of U.S. protests over the past 18 months that have targeted fast-food restaurant operators, including McDonald's Corp and Burger King Worldwide Inc.. "I have done so much for Burger King and I don't make enough to pay the rent." Castellanos said she has worked for Burger King for 10 years and makes $10 an hour.

  • Cisco shares jump as demand recovers in key markets Thursday, 15 May 2014 | 12:11 PM ET

    May 15- Cisco Systems Inc's shares rose as much as 8 percent after the network equipment maker posted strong quarterly results and signaled recovering demand in the United States and Northern Europe. Cisco's shares rose to an eight-month high of $24.69 in early trade on Thursday.

  • Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has come under fire from consumer advocates and technology companies for proposing to allow some "commercially reasonable" deals in which content companies could pay broadband providers to prioritize traffic on their networks.

  • *Wal-Mart profit falls as severe winter deters shoppers. NEW YORK, May 15- U.S. stocks dropped more than 1 percent on Thursday, fueled by a selloff in small-cap stocks and disappointing results from Wal-Mart.

  • BRUSSELS, May 15- The United States and the European Union sought on Thursday to counter rising opposition to transatlantic trade talks as hundreds of activists protested against the plans that they say would only benefit big companies fixated on maximizing profits.

  • WASHINGTON, May 15- A Senate panel on Thursday approved legislation to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and redesign the U.S. mortgage finance system, but sparse support among Democrats means the measure is unlikely to make it into law.

  • *OPEC needs to pump more in second half of 2014- IEA. NEW YORK, May 15- Front-month Brent crude futures held on to gains ahead of the contract expiration on Thursday, while U.S. futures fell even as concerns about the crisis in Ukraine and a tightening global oil market kept prices near 2-1/ 2- week highs.