TSX falls as stimulus concerns weigh on banks

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada‘s main stock index slipped in early Friday trade, led by declines in financials and industrials, as investors fretted about a possible pullback in global central bank stimulus programs. The Toronto Stock Exchange‘s S&P/TSX composite index <.gsptse> was down 28.90 points or 0.24 percent, at 12,248.23 shortly after the open.

Canada factory sales plunge 2.4 percent, most since August 2009

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian factory sales unexpectedly fell by 2.4 percent in April from March, dragged down in part by lower sales of petroleum products due to refinery slowdowns, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday. Analysts had expected a 0.3 percent increase. The drop is the fourth in five months and the biggest retreat since the 2.5 percent fall recorded in August 2009.

EU seeks to ease French fears over Hollywood in U.S. trade talks

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - EU states sought to reassure France on Friday that its culture would be shielded from the might of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, urging Paris not to block a free-trade deal with the United States that could boost transatlantic business. Paris has refused to join the 26 other EU governments that want talks to start in July, unless television, movies and developing online media are left out of a deal.

Bank of England‘s Tucker to leave after losing out to Carney

LONDON (Reuters) - Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker, beaten to the central bank’s top job by Mark Carney, will stand down later this year, giving the Canadian an early chance to start reshaping the BoE’s upper echelons. Tucker, part of the majority of policymakers which opposes further bond buying, had been expected to stand down ever since Carney, the former head of Canada’s central bank, was named in November as the surprise choice for governor.

Singapore reprimands 20 banks after benchmark rate review

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore‘s central bank has censured 20 banks on Friday after it found traders in the city state tried to manipulate benchmark borrowing and currency rates, and has ordered them to set aside additional reserves for a year. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that it had found 133 traders had tried to inappropriately influence the rates.

Airbus A350 completes maiden flight

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Europe’s newest jetliner, the Airbus A350, successfully completed its maiden flight on Friday, stepping up the battle with arch-rival Boeing for sales of a new generation of sleek, lightweight passenger aircraft. Watched by more than 10,000 staff and spectators, the aircraft’s curled wingtips sliced into clouds above the Airbus factory in southwestern France and flew over the Pyrenees mountains, with a crew of six wearing orange jumpsuits and parachutes.

Irish drug company Elan puts itself up for sale

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish drug company Elan said on Friday it will start a formal sale process in light of expressions of interest received to date. Royalty Pharma , which has made a hostile bid of up to $8 billion for Elan, will be invited to participate if it so wishes, Elan said in a statement.

Euro zone inflation subdued as employment keeps falling

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Inflation in the euro zone rose from a three-year low in May, but remained low enough for the European Central Bank to act to boost an economy which is shedding jobs at an increasing rate. The central bank expects economic recovery in the euro area to kick in later this year, but sees risks to growth from governments’ continued austerity programs and as companies struggle to access credit from banks.

EU free-trade states urge quick resolution of Chinese solar dispute

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - A group of free-trading northern European nations urged the EU’s trade chief on Friday to contain a growing dispute with China or risk a negative spiral that could choke exports. Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht needed to find a diplomatic solution with Beijing to avoid a tit-for-tat trade war, after Brussels imposed tariffs on Chinese solar panels and Beijing retaliated with an investigation into European wine.

Surge in U.S. oil-by-rail suffers first slowdown as spreads slim

NEW YORK/CALGARY (Reuters) - Oil traders are gently tapping the brakes on the thriving business of shipping U.S. and Canadian crude oil by rail, industry data showed this week, the first sign of a slowdown after a two-year boom. As price spreads for moving sweet North Dakota or Canadian crude to premium markets on the Gulf Coast slump to their lowest since early 2011, companies are shifting more oil back through pipelines rather than using costlier railcars, raising new questions about the longevity of oil-by-rail.

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