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  • 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..

  • *Madrid shares hit after Argentina defaults again. LONDON, July 31- Doubts about the health of Europe's economy dominated trade on its major stock markets on Thursday after a cautious message from the U.S.

  • LONDON, July 31- British utility Centrica posted a 35 percent fall in operating profit for the first half of the year as a mild winter in its home market led to reduced energy demand and extreme weather in North America increased costs. Centrica made 1.032 billion pounds in operating profit, down from 1.583 billion a year earlier, it said on Thursday.

  • SINGAPORE, July 31- Singapore risks tarnishing its business-friendly reputation by implementing new labour laws that require companies to prioritise hiring locals over foreigners for middle income jobs, analysts say.

  • Q2 GDP partly offset by mixed Fed views. LONDON, July 31- The dollar held just below a 10- month high against a basket of currencies on Thursday after the Federal Reserve said it was in no rush to raise interest rates, tempering a rally that dates back to early May.

  • *Investors focused on possible Pfizer return. LONDON, July 31- AstraZeneca raised its sales and earnings forecasts for the year on Thursday, showing resilience after seeing off a $118 billion takeover approach from rival Pfizer two months ago.

  • UPDATE 1-Shell Q2 earnings rise 33 pct, beat forecasts Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 3:09 AM ET

    LONDON, July 31- Royal Dutch Shell Plc reported a 33 percent increase in quarterly earnings on Thursday, beating analyst forecasts, after producing more liquids and selling at higher prices. The company joins rival BP Plc in reporting better-than-expected earnings.

  • LONDON, July 31- AstraZeneca smashed forecasts for second-quarter sales and earnings on Thursday, demonstrating resilience after seeing off a $118 billion takeover approach from rival drugmaker Pfizer two months ago.

  • *Settlement talks in New York end without agreement. *Pollack says Argentina default' imminent'. BUENOS AIRES/ NEW YORK, July 30- Argentina will default on its debt within hours after talks with holdout creditors broke down on Wednesday.

  • *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.