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  • ABU DHABI/ DUBAI, Sept 18- Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi state-owned investment fund with a mandate to develop the emirate's economy, posted a 23 percent increase in profit for the first half of 2014, aided by higher income from its joint ventures.

  • *Army has shrunk by 30-50 percent. *Army faced setbacks since June. Western officials believe the Syrian army, already stretched, has been under growing strain since Islamic State staged lightening advances in Syria and Iraq in June: insurgents this week briefly pushed into an area of Damascus that had not seen fighting for 18 months, the Observatory reported.

  • DUBAI, Sept 18- Middle Eastern banks bought the vast majority of a debut $500 million sukuk issue by Goldman Sachs, a positive sign for other conventional banks hoping to tap the region's liquidity by issuing Islamic debt, according to data from lead managers.

  • *India Oil Corp buys Iran oil after 2- mth gap. World powers and Iran are working to resolve a decade-old dispute over the OPEC nation's nuclear programme, with an interim deal that eases some sanctions on the country extended by four months to late November.

  • IMF warns of risks from "excessive" financial market bets Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 | 4:00 PM ET

    WASHINGTON, Sept 17- The global economy faces a growing risk from big financial market bets that could quickly unravel if investors get spooked by geopolitical tensions or a shift in U.S. interest rate policy, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

  • Commodities tomorrow: We have lots of oil     Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 | 4:00 PM ET

    CNBC's Jackie DeAngelis discusses the day's activity in the commodities markets. The focus was on the Fed today, as the end of QE approaches. Stocks were up, as was the dollar, and commodities were down on the day.

  • How to make Obama's strategy to fight ISIL work Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 | 2:37 PM ET
    Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014.

    Here's what could help make Obama's strategy for defeating the Islamic State work, says former State Dept. adviser David Phillips.

  • *Sellers say holding talks with China on Kurdish oil sales. *A China deal could hurt Baghdad's efforts to halt trades.

  • *OPEC could trim 2015 output to 29.5 mln bpd- Badri. Brent was down 42 cents at $98.63 a barrel by 1457 GMT, after closing up $2.40 in the previous session, the biggest daily gain since Sept. 3. "It looks like we've got extra oil hanging around- that was the initial shock of the number," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

  • South Africa's richest man Johann Rupert has a track record of leading Swiss-based Richemont through difficult times and his comeback at the company's annual general meeting in Geneva provided some comfort for investors.

  • Iraq's oil output revival at stake for want of water Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 | 7:14 AM ET

    DUBAI, Sept 17- A lack of water threatens Iraq's plans to raise its oil output, boost its stumbling economy and become a leading producer in the region after Saudi Arabia. A multi-billion dollar common seawater injection scheme designed to boost production from the giant export oilfields in Iraq's south is snarled up in red tape and acrimony.

  • Officials in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the National Security Council have each held internal talks about potential free-trade challenges from South Korea and NATO allies, two sources familiar with the matter said.

  • US general says cannot rule out ground role in Iraq Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 | 3:46 AM ET
    Members loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) wave ISIL flags as they drive around Raqqa June 29, 2014.

    The most senior U.S. military officer has raised the possibility that American troops might need to take on a larger role in Iraq's ground war against Islamic State militants.

  • Time to bet on the Middle East markets?     Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 | 3:45 AM ET

    Wael Ziada, head of research at EFG Hermes, discusses the case for investing in the Middle East despite continued geopolitical tensions.

  • Luxury watch makers are grappling with political instability in Hong Kong, the leading market for Swiss watches, and weak demand in China, where the government's fight against illegitimate gifting has hurt sales of expensive timepieces.

  • CNBC's Jackie DeAngelis discusses the day's activity in the commodities markets. Stocks and commodities rallied today, on strength in equities and a weaker dollar.

  • NEW YORK, Sept 16- For all of those waiting for a correction in U.S. stocks, here's the news: you may have already missed it.

  • *Size $500 mln; order book about $1.5 billion. DUBAI, Sept 16- Goldman Sachs raised $500 million with its debut sale of Islamic bonds on Tuesday, becoming the first conventional U.S. bank to issue sukuk as Islamic finance develops beyond its traditional homes in the Middle East and southeast Asia.

  • MOSCOW, Sept 16- Persisting political tensions should help send crude oil prices back above $100 per barrel in coming quarters and they should then stay there through 2017, Russia's central bank said on Tuesday.

  • US CEOs less optimistic about hiring, spending Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 | 10:51 AM ET

    Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T Inc. and chairman of the Roundtable, blamed the decline of the index on Congress' failure to extend temporary tax breaks that encourage research and development and investment spending. Overseas conflicts in the Ukraine and Middle East have also weighed on executives' optimism.