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  • BANGKOK, May 30- Thailand is expected to publish data on Friday showing stagnant consumption and investment, more evidence of a stumbling economy that will lend urgency to the military junta's efforts to get the country working again. Army chief and coup leader General Prayuth Chan- ocha has spoken of the need for broad reforms before an election.

  • SINGAPORE, May 30- Gold steadied after a three-day losing streak on Friday but the metal was headed for its biggest weekly drop in two months as an improving U.S. economic outlook dented its investment-hedge appeal. *Gold was also hurt by stronger equities and a firmer U.S. dollar, while the geopolitical situation in Ukraine was also being eyed.

  • TOKYO, May 30- U.S. crude oil futures were on course for their first monthly rise in three months, despite prices edging closer towards $103 a barrel on Friday, as geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Libya supported the benchmark contract in May.

  • TOKYO, May 30- Asian shares rose in early trading on Friday, buoyed by another record close on Wall Street, while the dollar groaned under the pressure of slumping U.S. yields. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added about 0.2 percent, on track for a modest weekly rise, after hitting one-year highs for the fifth time in the last six sessions.

  • *Euro drifts off 3- mth trough, vulnerable ahead of ECB June 5 meeting. SYDNEY, May 30- The yen nursed modest losses early in Asia on Friday, having retreated from multi-month highs against the euro as investors booked some profit before the weekend.

  • HAVANA, May 29- The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday urged Cuba to speed up and extend market-style economic reforms, saying world investors would respond and that it might be the best path toward better relations with the United States.

  • LOS ANGELES/ CHICAGO, May 29- The bidding war for Hillshire Brands Co could herald further deals as meat companies seek to round out their assets from farm to table in a food frenzy that accelerated after China's acquisition of Smithfield Foods a year ago.

  • Japan April factory output down 2.5 pct mth/mth Thursday, 29 May 2014 | 7:54 PM ET

    TOKYO, May 30- Japanese industrial output fell 2.5 percent in April, government data showed on Friday, as companies cut back on production after ramping it up to meet a rush in demand ahead of an increase in the national sales tax from April. The decrease was more than a median market forecast of a 2.0 percent fall.

  • TOKYO, May 30- Japan's core consumer prices jumped 3.2 percent in April from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday, the fastest gain since February 1991 as an increase in Japan's national sales tax boosted prices across the board.

  • Japan April jobless rate holds steady at 3.6 percent Thursday, 29 May 2014 | 7:34 PM ET

    TOKYO, May 30- Japan's jobless rate held steady at 3.6 percent in April, unchanged from the previous month, and the availability of jobs rose to the highest in nearly eight years, government data showed, in an encouraging sign that a tighter labor market will boost wages and support consumer spending.

  • PALO ALTO, Calif., May 29- The U.S. "Inflation is always and everywhere a fiscal problem," declared John Cochrane, a professor at the University of Chicago, speaking at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

  • NEW YORK, May 29- Wells Fargo& Co has agreed to pay $62.5 million to settle claims from a group of institutional investors that the bank improperly advertised a risky securities lending program as safe. In settling the case, Wells Fargo continued to deny any wrongdoing, according to court papers. Wells Fargo also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

  • And, DHL may use Boeing 747 jets on its route from its Cincinnati hub to Miami, replacing 767 s, because of the growing volume of packages heading to and from Latin America, Mike Parra, chief executive of DHL Express for the United States, told Reuters.

  • May 29- Network equipment maker Infoblox Inc forecast a lower-than-expected profit for the current quarter and said its chief executive is stepping down, sending its shares down as much as 30 percent in extended trading. Infoblox said it now expected to break even or earn up to 2 cents per share on an adjusted basis for the quarter ending July.

  • May 29- Apparel retailers Express Inc and Guess Inc forecast disappointing profits for the current quarter as a revival in consumer spending takes longer.

  • May 29- The U.S. Justice Department is pushing BNP Paribas SA to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal probe into allegations that the French bank evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

  • As well as cutting tariffs, the TPP seeks to set common standards on issues like intellectual property and labor- an issue which is particularly problematic in Vietnam, which the U.S. Labor Department says uses child and forced labor.

  • NEW YORK, May 29- A U.S. appeals court on Thursday rejected Apple Inc's bid to delay a July trial to determine damages after the company was found to have colluded to fix the prices of e-books. In a brief order, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the July 14 trial should proceed as scheduled, while Apple separately pursues its appeal of U.S.

  • BRASILIA, May 29- The five BRICS nations will likely agree to fund their $100 billion development effort equally, giving them the same rights in a new multilateral bank that could start lending in two years, a senior Brazilian government official told Reuters on Thursday.

  • *Global share indexes hit all-time high. NEW YORK, May 29- Global equity markets hit an all-time high on Thursday as investors brushed off weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data, while benchmark U.S.