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  • MILAN, May 13- Italy sold the top planned amount of 7.25 billion euros in bonds on Tuesday, smoothly progressing towards its annual funding goal as expectations of further monetary easing in the euro zone support demand for higher-yielding debt. The Treasury sold a new bond due in May 2017 at 1.07 percent drawing demand for 1.5 times the 4.0 billion euros sold.

  • *Lonmin gears for May 14 return to work deadline. JOHANNESBURG, May 13- South African police deployed additional officers to the platinum belt on Tuesday to protect miners returning to work this week, a police spokesman said, as producers pushed ahead with plans to end the country's longest and most costly strike.

  • BEIJING, May 13- China's economic activity showed across-the-board weakness in April, with data from output to investment and consumption all missing market expectations, sparking new calls for Beijing to ease policies to shore up growth.

  • LONDON, May 13- Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read said on Tuesday he expected the combined research expenditure of the merged drugmaker would be lower than that of the two separate companies following a takeover of drugmaker AstraZeneca.

  • LONDON, May 13- A planned change in the way Britain taxes North Sea drillers exposes the loophole in a system that allowed an industry with annual revenues of 2 billion pounds to pay almost no corporation tax for two decades, prompting accusations that the UK tax authority is falling down on the job.

  • SHANGHAI, May 13- China's crude oil runs, oil demand and total base metals production unexpectedly fell in April from the preceding month, with slackening power generation also fanning concerns that the world's second-largest economy is not yet on a stable footing.

  • JOHANNESBURG, May 13- South Africa's Nedbank reported an 8.7 percent jump in net interest income in the first quarter after a lending push grew total advances by nearly 15 percent. Nedbank is expected to exercise its rights to take up a 20 percent stake in pan-African lender Ecobank Transnational by Nov. 25 after lending the Togo- based bank $285 million.

  • China says the yuan is near equilibrium after a rise of nearly one-third since its 2005 revaluation and as it adapts to what President Xi Jinping says is the "new normal" of more moderate growth-- and has support even from former critics.

  • *Over 90 pct of Scania shareholders accepted buyout offer. HANOVER, Germany/ STOCKHOLM, May 13- Volkswagen's 6.7 billion euro offer for its Swedish truck division Scania was accepted by minority shareholders, a big step in the German automaker's plan to create a trucks alliance to compete in global markets.

  • Moscow and Kiev are on the cusp of another gas war after Kiev has refused to pay at higher levels demanded by Gazprom. Ukraine wants to change the conditions of a 2009 contract that locked Kiev into buying a set volume, whether it needs it or not, at $485 per 1,000 cubic metres- the highest price paid by any client in Europe.

  • RIYADH, May 13- Economic conditions in the United States would have to shift dramatically for the Federal Reserve to change the rate at which it is winding down its money-printing programme, a senior official at the central bank said on Tuesday.

  • *Indonesia ban on ore exports has sparked wave of supply fears. TOKYO, May 13- Pacific Metals Co Ltd, Japan's biggest ferronickel maker, said it had secured enough supplies of nickel ore for this financial year, amid surging nickel prices as supply concerns grip the market.

  • E-commerce edge helps British retailers expand abroad Tuesday, 13 May 2014 | 4:32 AM ET

    *UK retailers competitive on choice, prices, delivery. BERLIN/ PARIS, May 13- Marks& Spencer Plc is making a new push to expand abroad, hoping e-commerce will give Britain's biggest clothing retailer a better chance to succeed than earlier attempts to enter new markets.

  • PARIS, May 13- Airbus Group posted better than expected first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, sparking a relief rally in its shares as it dodged the impact of higher costs for its new A350 jet, which remains on track for a late-2014 debut.

  • *Broad share market rally eclipses Ukraine tensions. The run of positive corporate news continued in Europe, with Germany's ThyssenKrupp raising its full-year earnings outlook on Tuesday, while aerospace group Airbus Group posted a narrower-than-expected drop in core earnings and reaffirmed its financial goals for the year.

  • BEIJING, May 13- China's implied oil demand fell 0.8 percent in April from the previous month to its lowest since September as refineries scaled back production for maintenance and continued to export surplus fuel to trim inventories as the nation's economy slowed.

  • *Pro-Moscow rebels in east Ukraine call to join Russia. LONDON May 13- Brent crude slipped towards $108 a barrel on Tuesday, pressured by a possible sharp recovery in Libyan oil production, while the threat of further Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine stemmed further losses.

  • European shares extend rally; Airbus surges Tuesday, 13 May 2014 | 4:08 AM ET

    *Airbus surges after better-than-expected results. Airbus Group surged 5 percent in a relief rally after it reported better-than-expected profits and said its latest jetliner, the A350, was "progressing towards certification" in time for first delivery by the end of the year. "Airbus Group results are a decent beat...

  • BEIJING, May 13- Hong Kong shares edged up to a two-week high on Tuesday, led by gains in property stocks amid speculation the government may relax the city's stamp duty rules. The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.4 percent at 22,352.38 points, its highest since April 29. China Overseas Land& Investment Ltd gained 3.8 percent, while Sino Land Co Ltd increased 3.4 percent.

  • LONDON, May 13- U.S. drugmaker Pfizer hinted it could make a higher offer for Britain's AstraZeneca as the New York- based group's boss went into a meeting with UK lawmakers on Tuesday at which he was expecting to be grilled over promises on British jobs. Ian Read faces hostile questions in parliament over his proposed $106 billion play for AstraZeneca.