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  • WASHINGTON, May 1- U.S. consumer spending recorded its largest increase in more than four and a half years in March, cementing views the economy ended a dismal first-quarter on solid footing. The Commerce Department said on Thursday that consumer spending increased 0.9 percent after rising by a revised 0.5 percent in February.

  • U.S. jobless claims rise unexpectedly in latest week Thursday, 1 May 2014 | 8:30 AM ET

    WASHINGTON, May 1- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the underlying trend continued to point to improving labor market conditions.

  • *Sterling jumps after surging UK manufacturing figures. LONDON, May 1- Surging manufacturing growth in Britain drove sterling to a near five-year high on Thursday as markets suffered only a brief wobble after data on China's vast manufacturing sector just missed forecasts.

  • May 1- Avon Products Inc will pay the U.S. government $135 million to settle a multiyear probe into its efforts to develop new markets overseas, according to a preliminary understanding the beauty products company disclosed on Thursday.

  • Ally Financial profit falls 79 pct Thursday, 1 May 2014 | 8:18 AM ET

    May 1- Auto-lender Ally Financial Inc, which went public in April, reported a 79 percent drop in quarterly profit as the company's year-ago results included more than $1 billion in income from discontinued operations. Net income fell to $227 million, or 33 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.09 billion, or $2.16, a year earlier.

  • May 1- Harman International Industries Inc reported a 32 percent rise in quarterly revenue, helped by strong sales of its infotainment systems to luxury carmakers such as BMW and Volkswagen. Net income rose to $73.4 million, or $1.05 per share in the third quarter ended March 31, from $34.9 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

  • May 1- MasterCard Inc, the world's second-largest debit and credit card company, posted a 14 percent rise in quarterly profit as more people used cards to shop. MasterCard's worldwide purchase volume increased 10 percent on a local currency basis to $759 billion.

  • BorgWarner quarterly profit up 12 percent Thursday, 1 May 2014 | 8:13 AM ET

    May 1- BorgWarner Inc, a maker of automotive turbochargers and emissions systems, posted a higher quarterly profit, helped by higher sales at both its engine and drivetrain businesses. Net income attributable to BorgWarner rose 12 percent to $159.1 million, or 69 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $142 million, or 61 cents per share.

  • May 1- Coal miners Walter Energy Inc and Alpha Natural Resources Inc said they expected to ship fewer tons of steel-making coal as prices and demand remain low. Alpha Natural and Walter Energy's shares were down 3 percent before the bell.

  • May 1- Ford Motor Co said it would hold a news conference at 9 a.m. Eastern, at which CNBC reported it would confirm the appointment of Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields as its new chief executive. A person familiar with the succession plan told Reuters last month that Ford would soon name Fields to succeed Alan Mulally.

  • May 1- Asset manager Legg Mason Inc's quarterly profit more than doubled as operating expenses fell and investors poured more money into its funds. Legg Mason said total assets under management rose 3.3 percent to $701.8 billion as of March 31 from the preceding quarter. Legg Mason has witnessed net outflows in seven of the last ten quarters.

  • BEIJING, May 1- China's censors are asserting their authority over foreign TV content on the country's booming online video sites, after years of hands-off regulation, raising the risks for U.S. distributors left in the dark about which shows might fall foul of the rules.

  • May 1- Investment bank and asset manager Lazard Ltd more than doubled its adjusted quarterly profit as its merger advisory revenue soared in a thriving M&A market. Lazard's financial advisory revenue soared 64 percent to $275.5 million in the first quarter ended March 31, driven by a doubling of M&A and other advisory fees.

  • May 1- Motorola Solutions Inc, which makes walkie-talkies, rugged mobile computers and tablets, forecast weaker-than-expected quarterly results after reporting first-quarter revenue below estimates as orders from government and businesses fell. The company said it expects second-quarter adjusted profit of 58- 64 cents per share.

  • *Yelp shares up in premarket as revenue jumps. Health insurer Cigna Corp reported first-quarter earnings that beat expectations, following similarly positive results from competitors WellPoint Inc and Aetna Inc. Textron Inc's earnings fell from the prior year while revenue was nearly flat.

  • May 1- Agribusiness giant Bunge Ltd posted a first-quarter net loss on Thursday on losses in it grain trading and distribution business and poor oilseed processing margins in China. Bunge reported a net loss of $27 million, or 18 cents per share, compared with net earnings of $170 million, or $1.15 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

  • MasterCard quarterly profit rises 14 pct Thursday, 1 May 2014 | 7:40 AM ET

    May 1- MasterCard Inc, the world's second-largest debit and credit card company, posted a 14 percent rise in quarterly profit as more customers used cards to shop. The company's net income rose to $870 million, or 73 cents per share, for the first quarter ended March 31, from $766 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier.

  • A combination of AT&T and DirecTV would create a pay TV network that could rival Comcast Corp if it completes its purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc..

  • UPDATE 2-Viacom expands in Britain, buying Channel 5 Thursday, 1 May 2014 | 7:36 AM ET

    April 30- U.S. media company Viacom Inc said it will buy British free-to-air TV broadcaster Channel 5 from media baron Richard Desmond for 450 million pounds to expand in the United Kingdom.

  • NEW YORK, May 1- Avon Products Inc said on Thursday that it had reached a preliminary deal with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve a years-long probe into the beauty products company's overseas business development practices.