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  • HOUSTON/ ISTANBUL, July 31- Efforts by Iraqi Kurdistan to boost its finances through bulk oil sales suffered a setback on Thursday as its main U.S. customer swore off more purchases and Baghdad vowed to block delivery from oil-laden vessels like one the Kurds were loading for export.

  • *OPEC oil output rises in July from June- Reuters survey. NEW YORK, July 31- U.S. crude oil tumbled more than $2 on Thursday, going below $98 a barrel, hitting the lowest level since March on news of a potentially lengthy shutdown at a Kansas oil refinery, while Brent also slipped amid signs of robust OPEC oil production.

  • NEW YORK, July 31- Global equity markets tumbled on Thursday, hurt by ongoing tensions with Russia and Argentina's second default in 12 years, while the U.S. dollar edged higher against a basket of major currencies for its strongest monthly gain in over a year. "It's getting pretty ugly," said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York.

  • NEW YORK/ HOUSTON, July 31- Chemicals firm LyondellBasell, part of Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik's business empire, said it will quit buying "disputed" oil from Iraq- one day after Reuters identified it as the mystery American importer of Kurdish crude.

  • *OPEC oil output rises in July from June- Reuters survey. NEW YORK, July 31- U.S. crude oil tumbled more than $2 on Thursday, going below $98 a barrel, hitting the lowest level since March on news of a potentially lengthy shutdown at a Kansas oil refinery, while Brent also slipped amid signs of robust OPEC oil production.

  • NEW YORK, July 31- Global equity markets tumbled on Thursday, hurt by ongoing tensions with Russia and Argentina's second default in 12 years, while the dollar edged higher against a basket of major currencies. "It's getting pretty ugly," said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York.

  • NEW YORK/ HOUSTON, July 31- Chemicals firm LyondellBasell, owned by Ukraine- born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, has emerged as the mystery American buyer of Kurdish crude oil this year, but said on Thursday it will not be buying any more due to an ownership dispute.

  • *OPEC oil output rises in July from June- Reuters survey. NEW YORK, July 31- U.S. crude oil tumbled to a more than four-month low under $100 a barrel on Thursday on news of a potentially lengthy shutdown at a key oil refinery in Kansas, while Brent also slipped amid signs of robust OPEC oil production.

  • HOUSTON, July 31- LyondellBasell, which has reportedly bought Kurdish crude oil being claimed by Iraq, confirmed on Thursday it has recently purchased "modest quantities of Iraqi crudes" for its Houston Refining unit.

  • 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.

  • LONDON, July 31- The aluminum market outside China is set to record its first deficit in nine years in 2015 following production cuts and an Indonesian ore export ban, a turning point that could be the start of a prolonged shortfall as demand recovers.

  • LONDON, July 31- Gold fell to a six-week low on Thursday and was set for its second monthly drop since May as the dollar rose on optimism over the U.S. economy, which offset a message from the Federal Reserve that it is in no rush to raise interest rates.

  • *Q2 EPS ex-items $1.23 vs $1.22 forecast. *Now sees 2014 EPS $4.50- $4.80 with Copaxone competition. TEL AVIV, July 31- Teva Pharmaceutical Industries raised its full-year profit forecast on Thursday after posting higher quarterly earnings that were due in part to the launch of several generic products in the United States.

  • TEL AVIV, July 31- Diamonds are a girl's best friend- but only if they are natural. Global diamond jewelry sales are worth more than $72 billion a year, according to the World Diamond Council, and jewelers like Tiffany and diamond miners led by De Beers stress that a jewel mined at great expense, and often with great risk, is infinitely more valuable than one made by man.

  • Exxon profit surges, but production slips Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 8:45 AM ET

    NEW YORK— Exxon Mobil's net income rose 28 percent in the second quarter on a sale of Asian assets and higher oil prices, but oil and gas production slipped a disappointing 6 percent. Exxon reported net income of $8.78 billion in for the second quarter Thursday, on revenue of $111.65 billion.

  • July 31- MasterCard Inc, the world's second-largest debit and credit card company, posted a better-than-expected 10 percent rise in quarterly profit, as more customers used its cards to make purchases. MasterCard shares were up 2.8 percent at $78 in trading before the bell on Thursday.

  • *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.

  • *Almost quarter of a million refugees in UN's Gaza shelters. *Gaza fighting in its fourth week. GAZA/ JERUSALEM, July 31- The United Nations in Gaza is struggling to withstand a flood of almost a quarter of a million refugees into shelters that have repeatedly come under Israeli fire.

  • 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.

  • *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.