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  • *Shares in Adidas and Banco Espirito Santo slump. LONDON, July 31- European shares fell sharply on Thursday, with the euro zone's blue-chip index slipping to a three-month low, on concerns of an earlier than expected interest rate hike in the Uniteed States and a debt default by Argentina.

  • In San Francisco real estate, $1M won't buy much Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 12:48 PM ET

    SAN FRANCISCO— San Francisco Association of Realtors President Betty Taisch has two words of advice for anyone who wants to live here and thinks $1 million will buy them their dream house: think again.

  • *Klesch buys Milford Haven refinery from Murphy Oil. LONDON, July 31- U.S. entrepreneur Gary Klesch is buying the Milford Haven oil refinery on the coast of Wales, safeguarding around 450 jobs and betting an ailing European refining industry can only move up.

  • Kurdistan says crude cargo near Texas legally sold Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 12:34 PM ET

    HOUSTON, July 31- A $100 million cargo of crude oil in a tanker near Texas was legally shipped and sold by Kurdistan, lawyers for the autonomous region in Iraq told a U.S. court in a letter seen on Thursday, saying Baghdad has no right to the barrels.

  • *Wheat flat in consolidation trading. *Corn, soy, wheat all on track for monthly losses. "The beans firmed up due to some speculators taking advantage of the weakness earlier in light of the very strong demand we are seeing," said Terry Reilly, an analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

  • New Paris hotel joins race to pamper the super rich Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 12:19 PM ET

    *Hotel helps Paris compete against others luxury capitals. It is part of a battle to attract Asia's new class of super-rich that not only pits the world's top hotel groups against each other but also cities such as Paris, New York and London.

  • BUENOS AIRES, July 31- Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after last-ditch talks with what it called "vulture" creditors failed, as focus turned to whether big banks and funds would request the declaration of a "credit event".

  • *IMF flags China property sector risks. LONDON, July 31- Zinc lost ground on Thursday after inventories rose, highlighting an overhang of supplies that analysts say needs to be eroded before expected shortages kick in.

  • BUENOS AIRES, July 31- Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after last-ditch talks with what it called "vulture" creditors failed, though debt insurance prices on Thursday suggested investors believed a deal could eventually be reached.

  • LONDON, July 31- The euro hovered near a nine-month trough against the dollar on Thursday after data showed euro zone inflation falling to its lowest since the height of the financial crisis five years ago.

  • BUENOS AIRES, July 31- Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after last-ditch talks with what it called "vulture" creditors failed, though debt insurance prices on Thursday suggested investors believed a deal could eventually be reached.

  • SINGAPORE, July 31- Part of a Kurdish oil cargo has been offloaded from a Greek-managed tanker into another tanker in the South China Sea, but mystery surrounds the identity of the buyer and where the two tankers are headed. Iraqi Kurdistan is locked in a bitter legal and diplomatic struggle with Baghdad over international oil sales.

  • *H1 commercial property investment tops 10 bln euros- CBRE. Investors ploughed 10.7 billion euros into French office, retail, logistics and industrial properties in the first half of the year, up 73 percent from the same period last year, real estate adviser CBRE said.

  • *Coming up: U.S. Weekly jobless claims at 1230 GMT. LONDON, July 31- Gold held below $1,300 an ounce on Thursday and was set for its second monthly drop in three as optimism over the U.S. economy curbed demand, offsetting a message from the Federal Reserve it is in no rush to raise interest rates. Spot gold was flat at $1,295.10 an ounce by 1021 GMT.

  • METALS-Zinc falls as stockpiles rise, copper flat Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 6:26 AM ET

    *IMF flags China property sector risks. LONDON, July 31- Zinc lost ground on Thursday from a three-year peak two days before after inventories rose, highlighting an overhang of supplies that need to be eroded before expected shortages kick in.

  • *Bank of Portugal suspends BES risk, compliance, audit staff. LONDON/ LISBON, July 30- Laws may have been broken at Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo during a catastrophic six months that saw it lose 3.6 billion euros, the bank's new management said on Wednesday, as they vowed to raise new cash to bolster finances and to investigate the losses.

  • Lloyds reports big drop in profits amid charges Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 6:12 AM ET

    LONDON— The part-nationalized Lloyds Banking Group says its six-month net profit more than halved to 699 million pounds after it put aside another 600 million pounds to cover the cost of improperly sold payment protection insurance. The group said Thursday the profit fell from 1.58 billion pounds a year earlier.

  • LONDON, July 31- Britain's Serious Fraud Office on Thursday drew a line under one of its most embarrassing and damaging episodes by reaching a second out-of-court settlement over a botched investigation that led to the arrests of two property moguls.

  • *Earnings $6.1 bln vs $5.46 bln forecast. *Raises dividend, flags $30 billion returns to investors. LONDON, July 31- Royal Dutch Shell Plc reported a 33 percent increase in quarterly earnings on Thursday, beating analyst forecasts despite impairments of almost $2 billion after producing more liquids and selling at higher prices.

  • LONDON, July 31- Robert Tchenguiz, one of London's best-known property moguls, has reached a 1.5 million pound out-of-court settlement with Britain's Serious Fraud Office over his arrest and searches of his home and business premises in 2011..