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  • *RBS to cut investment bank assets by over 60 pct. *Howard Davies confirmed as chairman. LONDON, Feb 26- Royal Bank of Scotland will drastically shrink its investment banking operations, pulling out of 25 countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East and allowing the state-controlled lender to refocus on local lending in Britain.

  • LONDON, Feb 26- Standard Chartered said former JPMorgan investment bank boss Bill Winters will take over as chief executive in June to replace Peter Sands, after investors demanded change at the helm following two years of problems. Asia- focused bank Standard Chartered said on Thursday Chairman John Peace will also leave next year, and named other changes to...

  • FOREX-Aussie up, kiwi down in becalmed FX markets Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 4:05 AM ET

    *New Zealand shows surprise trade surplus. LONDON, Feb 26- The Australian and New Zealand dollars were the main movers among major currencies on Thursday, pushed in opposite directions by contrasting signals on the health of two struggling economies. Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen have done little to move on the debate over when U.S. interest rates will rise,...

  • LONDON, Feb 26- Anglo Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier plans to rename itself RELX and simplify its structure into one unit to make it more transparent for investors in the latest stage of its transformation. Analysts at Citi also said the alignment of the shareholder structure- maintaining a dual listing but combining all its assets into a single new group entity...

  • Global stocks higher on Chinese, German data Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 3:19 AM ET

    SEOUL, South Korea— Global stocks were mostly higher Thursday on upbeat corporate earnings and rising Chinese factory output after the chairwoman of the U.S. KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 was nearly flat at 6,937.52 while Germany's DAX inched up 0.1 percent to 11,221.95. ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.1 percent to 18,785.79 while Hong Kong's Hang...

  • HONG KONG, Feb 26- China is set to launch a link between gold markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong this year following a landmark stock connect scheme, aiming to enhance its pricing power of gold contracts and ultimately challenge its competitors in the West. While China is the world's largest consumer of the precious metal, having surpassed India, daily trading of...

  • DIARY-Top Economic Events to March 10 Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 | 7:01 PM ET

    ATLANTA, United States- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart speaks on monetary policy and the economic outlook before the 2015 Banking Outlook Conference- 1800 GMT. LONDON- Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher gives a lecture on "Reflections on 10 Years at the Fed: Through the Financial Crisis" at event hosted by the...

  • *Saudi Arabia's oil minister said sees demand improvement. NEW YORK, Feb 25- Brent crude oil futures surged 5 percent on Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia's oil minister said oil demand was growing and data showed Chinese factories were producing more than expected. Brent April crude rose $2.97 to settle at at $61.63 a barrel.

  • Hutton, will join Barclays PLC's wealth and investment management division in the Americas next month as general counsel, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday. "It's been a memorable journey," McKay wrote in a memo to Dominick employees, adding that he accepted Barclays' offer "after much tortured thought." The bank's former chief executive, Robert Diamond,...

  • LONDON, Feb 25- Standard Bank Plc said on Wednesday its co-head of commodities, Jim Coupland, is leaving after two decades, during which he built one of the world's biggest metals banks. His departure comes at a challenging time for Standard Bank as it seeks to recoup millions of dollars in losses from a metal financing scandal in China's Qingdao port that rocked...

  • LONDON/ MOSCOW, Feb 25- Gas giant Gazprom's oil arm is shifting its trading operations from Austria back to Russia, it said on Wednesday, with industry sources saying the firm wanted to protect huge revenues from potential seizure as Moscow's relations with the West worsen. A decision by Gazprom Neft to relocate trading from Vienna to St Petersburg, Russia's...

  • Sterling steadies after hitting 8-week high Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 | 1:00 PM ET

    LONDON, Feb 25- Sterling steadied after hitting an eight-week high against the dollar on Wednesday, buoyed by optimism over the UK's economic performance compared with its peers in Europe, which has helped drive British shares to record levels. The gains also seem broadly the product of a steadying of expectations for the Bank of England to deliver an interest...

  • *Saudi Arabia's oil minister said sees demand improvement. NEW YORK, Feb 25- Crude oil futures rose on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia's oil minister said oil demand was growing and data showed Chinese factories were producing more than expected. Brent April crude was up $1.34 at $60.00 a barrel at noon EST.

  • *Greece debt deal supports euro but doubts persist. NEW YORK, Feb 25- The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Wednesday on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's suggestion the U.S. central bank would not rush into raising interest rates, spurring traders to trim bullish dollar bets. Treasuries from recent highs, as Yellen's testimony to Congress...

  • PARIS/ FRANKFURT, Feb 25- U.S. and British spies are likely to have hacked into SIM card maker Gemalto in an attempt to steal codes that protect the privacy of billions of mobile phone users, the company said, as it sought to downplay the impact and ruled out legal action. "The facts are hard to prove from a legal perspective and... the history of going after a state shows it...

  • Bond giant PIMCO to cut some bank partners Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 | 9:41 AM ET

    LONDON, Feb 25- PIMCO, the world's biggest bond investor, will cut the number of banks it uses to execute deals over the next two years, as regulation reduces the trading capabilities of many market makers, one of its bond fund managers said on Wednesday. A lot of highly professional and experienced traders are being let go, "said Alex Struc, an executive vice president...

  • LONDON, Feb 25- Ireland has no problem in principle with the idea of swapping Greece's official debt for growth-linked bonds but would have to see the details of any proposal, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said on Wednesday. Euro zone finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to a four-month extension of Greece's EU/IMF bailout programme, subject to its economic...

  • LONDON, Feb 25- More than 60 central banks hold China's yuan in their currency reserves and the amount held there and in sovereign wealth funds should grow by $500 billion over the next five years, China- focused bankers said on Wednesday. Speaking at an Association for Financial Markets in Europe conference in London, Massimiliano Castelli, UBS Asset...

  • *MSCI world index strains for all-time high. *Gold rebounds from 7- week low plumbed in previous session. Following Wall Street's gains on Tuesday and more rises in Asia overnight, however, MSCI's 46- country world index was up 0.1 percent at 433.29 points and straining for the 434.24 all-time peak it scaled in September.

  • MADRID, Feb 25- Spain's Telefonica gave upbeat sales growth forecasts on Wednesday after the devaluation of the bolivar hit its Venezuelan business badly last year and helped knock more than a third off net profit. The company said it would pay a 0.75 euro dividend in each of the next two years and cancel share capital, helping maintain one of the highest dividend...