MOSCOW, Oct 24- Russia's top bank Sberbank said on Friday it had launched a legal challenge in a European Union court over Western sanctions imposed on the bank over the Ukraine crisis. The EU imposed sanctions on Sberbank over the summer, restricting its access to international capital, in a move linked to Russia's role in the separatist conflict in Ukraine.» Read More
*HSI +0.5 pct, H-shares +0.6 pct; China markets shut. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was also helped by confidence returning to the tech sector on Wall Street, though there were falls for telecom shares due to China's pilot programme on taxes.
May 2- Twitter Inc investors who heeded the advice of high-profile banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Deutsche Bank AG to buy the social media company's shares might be kicking themselves. On Wednesday the stock fell as low as $37.24, 50 percent below its peak of $74.73 the day after Christmas, wiping almost $18 billion off Twitter's market capitalization.
NEW YORK/ ST LOUIS, May 2- The U.S. Treasury Department has frozen all recruitment by its anti-money laundering arm and forced the agency to rescind 11 job offers, after an investigation found it violated the federal employment code during an aggressive hiring push, according to several government officials.
*Action comes hours after Russia revives Red Square May Day parade.
HONG KONG, May 2- Macau, the world's casino capital, raked in 31.3 billion patacas in gambling revenue in April thanks to strong spending by Chinese visitors keen to place their bets in the country's only legal casino hub.
Fresh violence in Ukraine eyed for signs of escalation. TOKYO, May 2- Asian shares edged up amid expectations for an upbeat U.S. payrolls report later in the session, while the markets kept an eye on the Ukraine after reports of fresh violence there that could potentially dampen risk appetite.
SINGAPORE, May 2- Brent crude held steady below $108 a barrel on Friday, on track for its steepest one-week decline in four months, as rising supply from the U.S. and Libya and a muted demand outlook in China dragged down oil prices.
*Nonfarm payrolls seen increasing 210,000 in April. WASHINGTON, May 2- U.S. hiring likely increased at its quickest pace in five months in April, which would bolster hopes of a strong rebound in economic activity in the second quarter.
TOKYO, May 2- Japanese household spending soared at the fastest annual pace in four decades in March as consumers rushed to beat a sales tax hike, with early signs backing the central bank's conviction the economy will weather an expected fall in consumption over coming months.
TOKYO, May 2- Japanese government bond prices were mostly firm on Friday, with most tenors supported by buying ahead of a long holiday weekend in Japan. Tokyo markets will be closed for Japan's Golden Week string of holidays, and will reopen from next Wednesday. The yield on 30- year JGBs turned modestly weaker after the Bank of Japan's purchase operations.
May 1- Consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman said it filed a nationwide antitrust class-action lawsuit against Google Inc alleging the company "illegally monopolized" the Internet and mobile search market in the United States.
SEPARATISTS IN SLAVIANSK SAY UNDER ATTACK BY UKRAINIAN FORCES, ONE HELICOPTER SHOT DOWN.
May 1- Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc have resumed talks about a trans-Atlantic merger of the two drug giants after Pfizer sweetened the terms of an earlier takeover offer for its British rival, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER SEES HELICOPTER OPEN FIRE ON OUTSKIRTS OF SLAVIANSK IN EAST UKRAINE.
GUNFIRE HEARD IN REBEL STRONGHOLD SLAVIANSK IN EAST UKRAINE- REUTERS REPORTER.
*Sterling hovers near 5- year peak after robust UK data. TOKYO, May 2- Asian shares edged up and the dollar held slim gains amid expectations for an upbeat U.S. payrolls report later in the session, which could show the economy shaking off a severe winter. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 percent.
SYDNEY, May 2- Treasury Wine Estates Ltd shares jumped more than 14 percent on Friday after French liquor giant Pernod Ricard SA reportedly said it was interested in buying the Australian company's troubled U.S. assets.
MELBOURNE/ SYDNEY, May 2- Shares in Australia's Padbury Mining Ltd plunged as trading in the stock resumed after its plans for a deal to build a $6.5 billion iron ore port and rail network collapsed within a month of being announced.
*Sony falls after dismal earnings. TOKYO, May 2- Japanese shares stepped back on Friday, with Sony Corp. falling after a profit warning and as investors took a cautious stance ahead of a closely-watched U.S. employment report later in the day.
WASHINGTON, May 1- The U.S. Commerce Department found no evidence to support allegations that the monthly unemployment rate was manipulated before the 2012 presidential election, according to a report issued by the agency's office of inspector general on Thursday.