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Top 4 Business Stories of the Day

Britain's banks need to start preparing for a financial environment in which they are no longer "too big to fail", Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said on Tuesday. Taxpayers in Britain poured 65 billion pounds into banks during the 2007-09 financial crisis and the B of E wants to ensure that no bank is so big that letting it fail would risk the market mayhem seen when Lehman Brothers went bust in September 2008. Speaking at an event held by Barclays Bank, Cunliffe cautioned lenders that once new rules are in place to ensure that no bank is too big to fail, market liquidity won't return to levels seen in the run-up to the financial crisis. British lawmakers pressed the chief executive of Pfizer on Tuesday to guarantee jobs should the American company succeed in taking over London-based AstraZeneca, prodding him on whether he could be trusted to honor promises made as part of the bid. Ian Read faced Parliament's Business Innovation and Skills Committee to defend his company's $106 billion cash and stock offer saying, "We are a highly ethical company." AstraZeneca has stressed that a takeover would disrupt its work on a potentially lucrative pipeline of new drugs and that the five-year time window covered by the commitments is too short. U.S. retail sales barely rose in April and a gauge of consumer spending slipped, which could temper hopes of a sharp acceleration in economic growth in the second quarter. The Commerce Department said on Tuesday retail sales edged up one-tenth of a percent last month, held back by declines in receipts at furniture, electronic and appliance stores, restaurants and bars and online retailers. Retail sales, which account for a third of consumer spending, rose by a revised 1.5 percent in March. The Standard & Poor's 500 index crossed above 1,900 for the first time Tuesday as investors assessed news on retail sales. DirecTV gained on reports that the AT&T is poised to buy the company for nearly $50 billion. The S&P 500 and Dow both had closed at record levels Monday as investors regained their appetite for riskier stocks. Stocks such as Twitter and Facebook, which had plunged in March and April, were among the big gainers

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