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France treads fine line on EU deficit-cutting targets

By Nicholas Vinocur and Alexandria Sage PARIS (Reuters) - France's government is to set out its roadmap to deficit reduction on Wednesday using optimistic growth forecasts considered risky by its own fiscal watchdog to show how it will meet European budget standards by the end of next year.

Citigroup's leaders say company needs to simplify itself

By David Henry ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - The two men at the top of Citigroup Inc <C.N>, the third-biggest U.S. bank and the most international, acknowledged on Tuesday that the company must do more to simplify itself. Asked at an annual meeting of shareholders whether Citigroup is too big to manage, Chairman Mike O'Neill said the task "is certainly harder" for its size and that the company has more years of work in a drive to reduce risk and complexity that started when the company was bailed out in the financial crisis.

Voice of first U.S. Hispanic justice heard in major race case

By Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first Hispanic Supreme Court justice has been on the bench for nearly five years but had never written an opinion addressing race in America until today. Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a sharply worded 58-page dissent on Tuesday to the court's 18-page decision upholding a Michigan state ban on race-based affirmative action in education.

Novartis and GSK trade assets as pharma industry reshapes

By Caroline Copley and Paul Sandle ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) - Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline agreed to trade more than $20 billion worth of assets on Tuesday to bolster their best businesses and exit weaker ones as the drug industry contends with healthcare spending cuts and generic competition.

Business Highlights

___ Job market for college grads better but still weak WASHINGTON (AP) — The job market for college graduates is brightening a bit. The Labor Department said Tuesday that the unemployment rate for 2013 college graduates was 10.9 per cent. That's down from 13.3 per cent in 2012. But unemployment for recent grads was still higher than the 9.6 per cent rate for all Americans ages 20 to 29 last October, when the government collected the numbers.

Rise in loan-loss reserve offsets growth in loans as Discover Financial's 1Q profit slides

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Discover Financial Services' net income fell 6 per cent in the first three months of the year as the company set aside more money to cover potential loan losses, offsetting loan growth. The credit card issuer and lender said Tuesday that total loans grew 6 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier. Personal loans jumped 27 per cent, while private student loans rose 5 per cent. Credit card loans increased 5 per cent, while sales volume for the company's namesake card rose 3 per cent.

Cable TV provider Comcast posts 30 per cent rise in 1st quarter profit, cites NBC results

PHILADELPHIA - Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income rose by 30 per cent as ad revenue surged at broadcast network NBC, helped by the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Jimmy Fallon's elevation as host of "The Tonight Show." Comcast is the largest cable company in the country with 22 million video customers and 21.1 million Internet customers. It is in the midst of an expected yearlong review of its $45 billion acquisition of No. 2 rival Time Warner Cable Inc.

In latest cycle, drugmakers use deals to narrow focus to boost prospects, satisfy shareholders

Drugmakers eager to satisfy shareholders by boosting profits and share prices are wheeling, dealing and in one case even making trades like a pro sports team looking to shake up its roster. The moves could spur more mergers and acquisitions in the industry.

New Brunswick introduces legislation to create combat sport commission

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government has introduced legislation to create a commission to regulate combat sports such as mixed martial arts. Dorothy Shephard, the province's healthy and inclusive communities minister, says the Combat Sports Act would govern professional and amateur combat sport events. The legislation would establish a commission that would be responsible for making sure fighters are licensed and officials are qualified.

Stalling Keystone will hurt U.S. energy security, Canadian economy: Oliver

HALIFAX - The U.S. government's decision to stall the Keystone XL pipeline project will harm American energy security and the economies of both the U.S. and Canada, says the federal finance minister. Joe Oliver said Tuesday that the U.S. administration's indefinite delay of the project hurts employment on both sides of the border. "I'm very disappointed by the American decision to delay yet again this project, which is perhaps the most studied natural resources project in the history of the world," he said after giving a speech to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.
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