*Plans 1 bln euro cost cuts, 1 bln euro asset sales. PARIS, June 19- Telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent plans to focus on networking products and high-speed broadband and will slim down with a billion euros in cost cuts by 2015 in a bid to reverse years of losses.» Read More
March 12- Pharmaceutical company Merck& Co Inc said on Tuesday an independent monitoring board had allowed it to continue with a large trial assessing the safety and effectiveness of its Vytorin cholesterol treatment.
LONDON, March 12- Kenya's peaceful election has given investors an added impetus to buy assets in East Africa's biggest economy, but a legal challenge to the result and the possible international trial of the winner could dampen enthusiasm.
*Dry weather eyed in top robusta grower Vietnam. May robusta coffee futures on Liffe were down $13, or 0.6 percent, at $2,177 a tonne by 1229 GMT after hitting $2,198 the previous session, the highest level for the benchmark second month since October 2012.
LONDON, March 12- Sterling slipped to a 2-1/ 2 year low and European shares were flat on Tuesday after data underscoring Britain's economic weakness bolstered expectations of another jolt of central bank stimulus.
*VW hit by weak Audi results. LONDON, March 12- European shares hovered just shy of 4-1/ 2 year highs on Tuesday as results from Antofagasta and auto maker Audi painted a mixed earnings picture, although charts showed investors were still prepared to buy market dips.
*Weidmann says France reform course seems to have floundered. FRANKFURT, March 12- The euro zone crisis is not over, France's reforms are slipping and the Bundesbank has set aside billions in new provisions against what it sees as risky European Central Bank moves, Germany's central bank said on Tuesday.
*Shares of Yum Brands up on China restaurant sales. NEW YORK, March 12- U.S. stock index futures dipped on Tuesday as investors appeared set to lock in profits after a seven-session string of gains and the Bundesbank's chief warned the euro zone's crisis has not ended.
Members pay up to $110 per year to shop at Costco's cavernous stores and website, which sell items ranging from dog food to diamond rings. "The retailer's ability to keep members engaged and coming back for more is unparalleled," Planet Retail analyst Sandy Skrovan said, adding that Costco was outperforming its peers in terms of sales growth and productivity.
VATICAN CITY, March 11- When Roman Catholic cardinals enter the secret conclave to choose a new pope on Tuesday they will be following a ritual dating to the 13th century, when papal elections could last for years and some cardinals died during the gruelling process.
But speculation the Bank of Japan could embark of more aggressive monetary stimulus sooner than previously thought is likely to check any sharp rebound in the yen, traders said.
March 12- Pharmaceutical company Merck& Co Inc said on Tuesday that an independent monitoring board had allowed it to continue with a huge trial assessing the safety and effectiveness of its blockbuster Vytorin cholesterol treatment. The study, called IMPROVE-IT, will now continue to its conclusion in September 2014, the drugmaker said.
*Hard-money Latvia to bolster euro disciplinarians. But Latvia is also the fastest-growing European Union state and its eagerness to join will be welcomed in euro zone capitals as a vote of confidence in a bloc suffering many agonies. "Latvia will side with Germany.
LONDON, March 12- Gold rose above $1,590 an ounce on Tuesday, gaining nearly one percent following comments by an ECB official that eurozone inflation pressures are abating, which was viewed as an indication of continued monetary easing.
*Brazil completes 50 pct harvest of soybean crop. LONDON/ SINGAPORE, March 12- Chicago soybean futures fell on Tuesday with decline driven by waning demand for old crop U.S. supplies with the harvest in rival exporter Brazil now in full swing.
*CNOOC expects higher output from UK North Sea assets. CNOOC has taken a controlling stake in the North Sea field central to the price of benchmark Brent crude and which, every time it shuts, can raise costs for some of China's oil imports. "We fully expect to increase production from the UK North Sea assets," CNOOC said in a statement to Reuters. "
FRANKFURT, March 12- Private equity firms and property lenders have expressed interest in bidding for a 5 billion pound UK property loans portfolio put up for sale by Commerzbank, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
CAIRO, March 12- Egypt will not sign any "emergency" loan with the IMF, cabinet spokesman Alaa el-Hadidi said on Tuesday, appearing to rule out any recourse to a bridging loan which the IMF said on Monday was available to Cairo.
HONG KONG, March 12- Cash-strapped Chinese solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd is likely to be bailed out by the state, despite a temporary reprieve from some debt holders, as it struggles to cover a $541 million convertible bond due within days.
*Dividend more than doubled from year ago to 98.5 cents per share. LONDON, March 12- Copper miner Antofagasta sought to brush off investor worries about short-term growth with better than expected 2012 dividends on Tuesday, as profits ticked higher in spite of lower copper prices.
*Markets unmoved by Italy's political gridlock. ROME, March 12- Italy's election produced the hung parliament investors said was the worst possible outcome, recession is deepening, debt is rising and its credit rating has just been downgraded.