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QFINANCE: financial news roundup (April 25 - May 1, 2014)

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Each week brings you some of the biggest news stories from the past five days in finance and business – essential reading to keep you up to date with the latest topics.

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Thursday May 1

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $17.1bn (£10.1bn) bailout package for Ukraine to help the country’s economy amid heightened military and political tension with Russia, the BBC reported. The loan is dependent on economic reforms including tax and energy price rises.

Related article: Ukraine’s recovery still rests on shaky ground

Lloyds Banking Group has announced a 22% increase in profits for the first quarter of this year, rising to £1.8bn from £1.5bn last year. According to the City A.M., Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio cited a lower-risk balance sheet as the cause of the bank's success.

Wednesday April 30

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has rejected the UK’s challenge to EU financial transaction tax (FTT), which ministers said would affect London's banks, the BBC reported. The ECJ dismissed the challenge as “premature” as the details of the tax had not been finalized.

Related article: Cementing Europe’s Recovery

The US Federal Reserve is cutting its bond-buying program by another $10 billion, Reuters reported, as the country’s economy is recovering from a winter slowdown.

Tuesday April 29

The Bank of England is planning stress tests on eight of the country’s biggest banks and building societies, to ensure they are strong enough to endure severe drops in house prices and rises in interest rates, the Guardian reported.

Related article: The Role of the Global Property Markets Since the Crash

In line with energy sanctions against Russia, the US Treasury has blacklisted Igor Sechin, “the mastermind of the Kremlin's energy strategy”, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Monday April 28

Britain’s energy suppliers are expected to save a £2bn windfall over the next three years due to governmental miscalculations, the Daily Telegraph reported. The newly published analysis for the Insulated Render and Cladding Association (Inca) revealed that UK households face overpaying by up to £23 per year.

Related article: Challenges in Global Energy and Their Potential Impact on the Cost of Energy

France has announced it will consider General Electric’s $17bn bid for Alstom’s engineering business, the BBC reported. However, it would be open to a rival bid from German firm Siemens, which is also interested in its power turbines.

Friday April 25

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced the possible sale of non-core units following speculation over a $100 billion takeover by Pfizer, the Guardian reported. This “would be the biggest foreign takeover of a British company,” according to the article.

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Come back next week for another report on the world of business and finance.

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