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April 24- Banco Bradesco SA beat first-quarter profit and return on equity estimates on Thursday, even as Brazil's second-largest private-sector bank failed to stem a decline in interest income and jumpstart loan disbursements.
*Syria due to hand over all chemicals by Sunday. Syria became a member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last year as part of a deal with Russia and the United States to destroy its chemical weapons programme.
April 24- Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc, one of the world's top five offshore rig contractors, reported a better-than-expected adjusted profit as the company cut costs and secured higher rates for its upgraded fleet.
April 24- United Parcel Service Inc, the world's biggest courier company, reported a 12 percent fall in quarterly profit due to higher costs related to a colder-than-usual winter the United States. Rival FedEx Corp also blamed the harsh weather for weak third-quarter results in March and cut its fiscal-year profit forecast.
LONDON, April 24- Gold fell to a 2-1/ 2 low on Thursday, as a rally in equities and the dollar after broadly positive U.S. economic data dimmed its appeal as an alternative asset, while a weaker technical picture suggested possible further losses.
BRUSSELS, April 24- The European Union may ban transactions with financial institutions in Crimea as part of its response to the annexation of the peninsula by Russia last month, an EU document obtained by Reuters showed.
*Tech results lift Nasdaq futures, Apple and Facebook rally. NEW YORK, April 24- U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday, with Nasdaq futures jumping more than 1 percent following a pair of blowout results from technology stalwarts Apple and Facebook.
NEW YORK, April 23- Verizon Communications Inc profit fell short of Wall Street expectations on Tuesday, even as the company's revenue rose 4.8 percent, its highest growth rate in five quarters. Excluding unusual items, its earnings per share of 0.84 cents fell short of Wall Street expectations of 87 cents per share.
FRANKFURT, April 24- The European Central Bank opened the door at its April policy meeting to possible money-printing to boost the euro zone economy and keep inflation from staying too low. Following are highlights of ECB policymakers' comments since the April 3 meeting. To read full stories, double click on the links in brackets.
April 24- Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc reported stronger-than-expected adjusted net earnings due to robust sales of its sole product on the market, Soliris, and it raised its full-year profit forecast for the second time in less than two months.
DETROIT, April 24- General Motors Co said on Thursday that first-quarter profit tumbled 88 percent after a massive recall due to defective ignition switches, but results still topped expectations on strong pricing for its redesigned pickup trucks in North America.
April 24- Caterpillar Inc on Thursday posted a quarterly profit that topped analysts' estimates and raised its full-year outlook on a stronger-than-expected rebound in sales to the construction industry.
LONDON, April 24- Global stocks rose on Thursday lifted by upbeat earnings from tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook which helped shake off some of the concerns about overheating that have dented the sector in recent weeks.
WASHINGTON, April 24- Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in March and a measure of business capital spending plans surged, bolstering views of an acceleration in growth in the second quarter. The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders increased 2.6 percent as demand rose across all categories.
Amazon.com Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Facebook Inc, Google Inc, IBM, Intel Corp and Microsoft Corp are among a dozen companies that have agreed to be founders of the group, known as Core Infrastructure Initiative. The non-profit Linux Foundation announced formation of the group on Thursday.
April 24- Celgene Corp on Thursday reported a slightly higher-than-expected first-quarter profit on increased sales of its flagship multiple myeloma drug Revlimid and other oncology products. Excluding special items, Celgene had adjusted earnings of $1.67 per share, topping analysts' average expectations by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
*EU graft rules not enforced- Transparency International. BRUSSELS, April 24- European lobbyists carry out much of their work in secrecy and there is widespread complacency in Brussels about tackling corruption or conflicts of interest, Transparency International said on Thursday.
LONDON, April 24- AstraZeneca announced faster-than-expected progress of its experimental cancer drugs and plans to spin off billions of dollars of non-core assets as it staked a claim for independence following reports of bid interest from Pfizer.
LONDON, April 24- Barclays Chairman David Walker defended pay levels at the bank on Thursday, telling shareholders that it needed to raise bonuses to stop an exodus of senior executives.
WASHINGTON, April 24- Raytheon Co expects strong bookings and a slight gain in operating margins over the rest of this year after posting the highest quarterly earnings per share and cash flow in more than a decade, Chief Financial Officer David Wajsgras said Thursday.