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*General Mills warns profit hit by competition. Curbing investors' enthusiasm for equities, Russia's navy said fighter jets had started training exercises over the Mediterranean Sea, an announcement likely to raise tensions in the standoff with Ukraine.
NEW YORK, March 14- Growing tension between the West and Russia ahead of Ukraine's weekend referendum in Crimea pushed down stocks on major world markets on Friday and drove up buying of safe-haven gold and the yen.
*Gold miners sell production up to a year forward. *Hochschild, Detour, Petropavlovsk among the hedgers. "I see a short-term hedge as a weapon in the arsenal of a financial director to protect the company and generate some short to medium-term security," said Markus Bachmann, manager of precious metals and global resources funds at Craton Capital.
Banks will face security fees for not updating Windows XP-run automated teller machines as Microsoft withdraws support for the software on April 8.
NEW YORK, March 14- Growing tension between the West and Russia ahead of Ukraine's weekend referendum in Crimea pushed stocks on major world markets down on Friday and ramped up the flight into safe-haven gold and the yen.
NEW YORK, March 14- The yen rose on Friday, poised for its biggest weekly gains in more than a month against the euro and dollar, as traders flocked to it on growing tension in Ukraine and fears about the health of the Chinese economy.
Secretary of State John Kerry will seek assurances from Russia on Friday that it will not seek to annex Crimea and will address concerns over Ukraine through negotiation, a senior State Department official said before talks in London.
*Acquisition prospects in Asia white cement. ROME, March 14- Italy's Cementir group is looking at acquisition opportunities to strengthen its position in white cement and could finalise a deal within 12 months, possibly in Asia, chief executive Francesco Caltagirone said.
Osborne looks determined to stick to his message that Britain is only half-way through the belt-tightening plan he launched in 2010 to fix Britain's still wide budget deficit.
*Microsoft withdraws support for Windows XP on April 8. LONDON/ NEW YORK, March 14- Banks around the world, consumed with meeting more stringent capital regulations, will miss a deadline to upgrade outdated software for automated teller machines and face additional costs to Microsoft to keep them secure.
*Gold headed for sixth straight weekly gain. LONDON, March 14- Gold prices reached their highest level in six months on Friday, benefiting from stumbling share prices hit by tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and growth concerns in China.
SEVASTOPOL/DONETSK, Ukraine, March 14- The CEOs of Russia's two largest firms are on a list of those who may be hit next week with European and U.S. sanctions over the Crimea crisis, a German newspaper said on Friday, suggesting tougher than expected measures against Russia's elite.
LONDON, March 14- Metals markets are nervous that nearly half a million tonnes of hidden zinc may be delivered on the London Metal Exchange next week, shaking a market unsure about the extent of further concealed stocks.
*Barclays has already announced 12,000 job cuts for group. March 13- Barclays has launched the third review of its investment bank in as many years, and is likely to cut more jobs and business areas as it battles to improve profitability, people familiar with the matter said.
*Gold headed for sixth straight weekly gain. LONDON, March 14- Gold rose to a six-month high above $1,380 an ounce on Friday and was headed for its biggest weekly gain in four, buoyed by lower equity markets on mounting tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and worries of an economic slowdown in China.
*Highest earner is investment bank chief Andrea Orcel. ZURICH, March 14- UBS hiked Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti's pay by more than a fifth in 2013, when the Swiss bank added probes into its metals trading and foreign exchange businesses to a long list of legal troubles.
*Wall Street set for subdued start. LONDON, March 14- Heightened tensions between the West and Russia ahead of Ukraine's weekend referendum in Crimea pushed world stocks to their lowest in more than a month on Friday and left investors scurrying into safe-haven gold and bonds.
MOSCOW, March 14- Russia's central bank on Friday kept lending rates on hold after raising them two weeks ago and said it would fight for financial stability after the standoff with the West over Crimea, which has sent the rouble and stocks tumbling.
*Equities tumbled on Thursday on rising concerns over Ukraine and Russia and new signs of an economic slowdown in China. Secretary of State John Kerry will seek assurances from Russia on Friday that it will not seek to annex Crimea and will address concerns over Ukraine through negotiation, a senior State Department official said before talks in London.
*Small delivery seen against London cocoa expiry. Cocoa edged up as traders focused on expiry of the London March contract. "The lower price has forced more people to fix contracts", before prices fall further, one London- based coffee futures broker said.