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Wall Street Week Ahead: Spring fever brings hope for U.S. earnings
By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - Earnings season shifts into high gear next week, and with nearly one-third of S&P 500 names set to post results, investors hope the news provides a catalyst to buy stocks and leave the market's recent weakness in the dust. Several behemoths, including Apple, the largest U.S. company by market value, as well as Microsoft, McDonald's and AT&T , are due to report earnings. They'll be accompanied by highfliers like Netflix and Facebook, giving the first real cross-section of the state of corporate America as temperatures rise across the country and investors hope to put the cold weather behind them. Strategists will also be looking for clues on how badly China's slowdown hits U.S. corporate results.

Rajaratnams brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rengan Rajaratnam, the younger brother of imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, on Friday lost a bid to dismiss some of the insider trading charges leveled against him last year. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled that the indictment adequately alleged the essential elements of the crimes charged. A lawyer for Rajaratnam did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment.

Compensation battle rages four years after BPs U.S. oil spill
Four years after the Deepwater Horizon spill, oil is still washing up on the long sandy beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana, and some islanders are fed up with hearing from BP that the crisis is over. Jules Melancon, the last remaining oyster fisherman on an island dotted with colorful houses on stilts, says he has not found a single oyster alive in his leases in the area since the leak and relies on an onshore oyster nursery to make a living. The British oil major has paid out billions of dollars in compensation under a settlement experts say is unprecedented in its breadth. Some claimants are satisfied, but others are irate that BP is now challenging aspects of the settlement.

Exclusive: Biogen prices hemophilia drug on par with older therapies
Biogen Idec Inc is pricing its newly approved long-acting hemophilia drug, Alprolix, to cost U.S. patients, and insurers, about the same per year as older, less convenient therapies whose price can reach about $300,000 annually. The move could pressure rivals such as Pfizer Inc to lower prices for existing hemophilia treatments, which provide patients with life-saving infusions of a blood clotting agent, according to doctors and industry analysts. Biogen last month won U.S. and Canadian approval for Alprolix to treat hemophilia B, the more rare form of the condition that affects about 4,000 people in the United States and about 25,000 worldwide. "We think we have priced (Alprolix) to create parity with existing therapies on an annual cost of therapy basis," Tony Kingsley, Biogen's head of global commercial operations, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

AMR loses bid to terminate retiree benefits
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. bankruptcy judge largely declined on Friday to rule that former American Airlines parent company AMR Corp had a unilateral right to terminate benefits for nearly 47,000 retirees. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane in New York rejected a motion AMR made in 2012 for a ruling holding that the health and welfare benefits it provided retirees had not vested and could be unilaterally modified. Lane did rule for AMR with regard to some employees, but his ruling was a setback in AMR's bid to shift the program's costs from the company to the retirees, which included both union and non-union employees. "American will review his ruling and consider next steps related to the retiree health and life insurance benefits," said Casey Norton, a spokesman for American Airlines.

Amazons tax-free European profits drop after IRS clamp-down
By Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - The amount of money Amazon.com Inc reports through a tax-exempt vehicle in Europe has dropped sharply in the past two years, even as European sales jumped, after the U.S. tax authority tightened rules it felt were being abused to shift profits. Amazon minimizes its tax bill by having the U.S. unit which owns its technology licenses lease the rights to re-license the technology to a tax-exempt partnership based in Luxembourg. The Group of 20 leading economies has vowed to crack down on corporate tax avoidance and the practice of shifting profits into low or no tax jurisdictions. Amazon has been a frequent subject of politicians' criticism in Europe over the way it channels all European revenues to Luxembourg where profits can be earned tax free.

Brazilian tycoon Batista investigated for financial crimes: reports
Brazil´s federal police have opened an investigation into former billionaire Eike Batista for financial crimes, including insider trading, manipulation of markets and money laundering, Brazilian media reported on Friday. If the police probe leads to criminal charges against Batista, it would be yet another major blow for a businessman once hailed as Brazil's model entrepreneur and symbol of its economic success. Batista´s EBX oil, mining and logistics empire, which two years ago was valued at $60 billion, collapsed last year in a mountain of debt and massive filings for bankruptcy protection. A week ago, Brazil's securities commission, CVM, announced that Batista was under investigation for insider trading as chairman of his now-bankrupt oil-producing company Óleo and Gás Participações SA , formerly known as OGX, and its sister company, shipbuilder OSX Brasil SA .

Tech workers seek to use Steve Jobs evidence in upcoming trial on no-hire...
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Four large technology companies should not be allowed to limit evidence about Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs at an upcoming trial over no-hire agreements in Silicon Valley, according to a court document filed late on Thursday by employees suing the firms. Tech workers brought a class action lawsuit against Apple, Google Inc, Intel Inc and Adobe Systems Inc in 2011, alleging they conspired to avoid competing for each other's employees in order to avert a salary war. The case, which is closely watched in Silicon Valley, is largely built on emails among top executives, including Apple's late chief executive Jobs and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Auto airbag maker Continental named in GM recall suit
Plaintiffs' lawyers are seeking to draw Continental Automotive Systems U.S., the maker of airbag systems in recalled General Motors Co vehicles, into litigation over an ignition-switch defect that has been linked to 13 deaths. A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in federal court in California is the first to name Continental, a subsidiary of German automotive supplier Continental AG , in a growing wave of litigation over GM's recall, which has so far encompassed 2.6 million vehicles. Continental made airbag systems for the recalled cars, including sensors that determine if and when the airbags go off in an accident, according to the suit. The case is among dozens of proposed class actions that have been filed by customers accusing GM of concealing its knowledge of the defect for more than a decade, putting plaintiffs at risk of injury and causing them to suffer economic losses on their cars, including lower resale value.

Lululemon yoga pants lawsuits in U.S. win final dismissals
By Nate Raymond and Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has issued final dismissals of lawsuits accusing Lululemon Athletica Inc and various company officials of defrauding shareholders by concealing defects in yoga pants. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan had on April 4 issued "draft" decisions dismissing a shareholder lawsuit against Lululemon, and two lawsuits accusing 11 executives and directors of missing red flags about poor quality control. Shareholders accused Lululemon of failing to disclose how its black Luon yoga pants were too sheer, culminating in an expensive March 2013 recall. They also accused the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company of overstating its ability to ensure good quality control and of concealing plans to replace its since departed chief executive, Christine Day.

US puts off decision on Keystone XL pipeline
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely.

5 features an Amazon phone might offer
NEW YORK (AP) — A report this week in The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is planning to release a smartphone has prompted industry analysts and technology blogs to muse about what the device might offer.

US newspaper industry revenue fell 2.6 pct in 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. newspaper industry revenue fell last year, as increases in circulation revenue werent high enough to make up for shrinking demand for print advertising, an industry trade group said Friday.

Unemployment rates fall in 21 US states last month
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring has improved for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery.

Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
BOSTON (AP) — With an expanded field of runners and the memory of last year's bombings elevating interest in one of the world's great races, the 2014 Boston Marathon could bring an unprecedented wave of visitors and an influx of tourism dollars to the area.