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  • Oct 24- Banana producer Chiquita Brands International Inc said it would start takeover talks with Brazil's Grupo Cutrale and Safra Group after its shareholders voted against a proposed merger with Irish rival Fyffes Plc. Fyffes' shares fell 5 percent to 94 euro cents in Dublin after the collapse of the deal, which would have created a company domiciled in...

  • Kering and BASF fall as European shares slip back Friday, 24 Oct 2014 | 12:42 PM ET

    *Luxury goods group Kering falls after lower Gucci sales. LONDON, Oct 24- Shares in luxury goods group Kering and chemicals company BASF fell on Friday after business updates, while new worries about the Ebola virus also weighed on European stock markets. Kering slumped 5.1 percent, making it the worst-performing stock on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300...

  • MOSCOW, Oct 24- Standard& Poor's ratings agency affirmed Russia's sovereign rating on Friday at a notch above junk status, warning that a downgrade may follow if more sanctions are imposed on Moscow for its role in the Ukrainian conflict. S&P also said another cut might come if Russia's monetary policy or exchange-rate flexibility weakens.

  • S&P upgrades Cyprus on commitment to bailout deal Friday, 24 Oct 2014 | 12:36 PM ET

    NICOSIA, Cyprus— Rating agency Standard& Poor's gave Cyprus a pat on the back with a one notch upgrade to its credit grade, to B+, citing its commitment to the terms of its bailout program and better-than-expected economic growth. It hailed Cyprus' strong budgetary performance and projected a shallower recession this year. The agency said Friday that it expected...

  • LAURA, Russia, Oct 24- Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a plea to the European Union and United States on Friday, asking them to help cash-strapped Ukraine raise funds to pay for Russian gas purchases and warning about escalation of the gas crisis. He also said he hoped a deal would be reached next week with Ukraine to end a long-running dispute in which...

  • Russian sigh of relief: Ratings held steady by S&P Friday, 24 Oct 2014 | 12:09 PM ET
    A man walks past a money exchange office as it is reported that the Russian rouble has weakened, on October 22, 2014 in Moscow, Russia.

    Standard & Poor's affirmed its ratings on Russia Friday, providing relief to markets that had feared a downgrade.

  • BERLIN, Oct 24- German Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked ECB President Mario Draghi for spelling out to leaders at an EU summit that governments must play a role in boosting the faltering euro zone economy, and said it was their firm intention to do so. "I am very thankful to Mario Draghi for holding up a mirror for us once again," Merkel told a news conference in...

  • Poland strips Russian journalist of accreditation Friday, 24 Oct 2014 | 11:48 AM ET

    WARSAW, Poland— The Polish Foreign Ministry says it has stripped a Russian journalist of his right to work in Poland. The ministry gave no reason for the decision, but Polish media suggested that journalist Leonid Sviridov, who works for the Rossiya Segodnya news agency, could be suspected of spying. The announcement that Sviridov was stripped Friday of his...

  • NEW YORK, Oct 24- Tesco Plc has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit in the United States by investors over accounting irregularities at Britain's largest retailer. The lawsuit was brought by Irving Fireman's Relief and Retirement Fund on behalf of purchasers of Tesco's American depository shares from Feb. 2 to Sept. 22. The lawsuit accused Tesco and...

  • NEW YORK, Oct 24- The euro rallied on Friday ahead of an official report on the health of the euro zone's main banks as investors continued a trend of covering their short-positions leading to buying of the currency against the U.S. dollar. Bloomberg News first reported the results of the tests, which are due on Sunday. It just highlights that this is a risk that is not...

  • Oct 24- E-cigarette seller Electronic Cigarettes International Group Ltd has postponed its public offering due to unfavorable market conditions, an analyst at underwriter Canaccord Genuity told Reuters on Friday. Grand Rapids, Michigan- based Electronic Cigarettes is among a number of e-cigarette companies whose stocks are traded over-the-counter in...

  • *Microsoft gain lifts U.S. shares. NEW YORK, Oct 24- Global equity markets rose modestly on Friday as gains in Microsoft buoyed U.S. shares, even as news that a New York City doctor tested positive for the Ebola virus produced a modest safe-haven bid for U.S. MSCI's all-country world equity index was set for its biggest weekly gain since July 2013, while the benchmark...

  • *President denies Russia to blame in Ukraine crisis. LAURA, Russia, Oct 24- Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Friday of endangering global security by imposing a "unilateral diktat" on the rest of the world and shifted blame for the Ukraine crisis onto the West. "We did not start this," Putin told an informal group of experts on Russia that...

  • What's missing from the EU bank stress tests Friday, 24 Oct 2014 | 11:03 AM ET

    Even before they are published Sunday, speculation over who is going to pass the tests and whether they're tough enough has reached fever pitch.

  • *Italy, France want more spending room despite EU budget rules. BRUSSELS, Oct 24- France and Italy renewed their commitment to reform their economies on Friday in the hope of winning more time to bring their public finances in order but the ECB's president warned more needed to be done to avoid "a relapse into recession". After the bloc's revival came to a halt in the...

  • LAURA, Russia, Oct 24- Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he did not expect European countries to stop buying natural gas from Russia as there is no real alternative. "Can you imagine that this will happen at the desire of our partners in Europe? The European Union, which has imposed sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, has expressed concern...

  • *Italy, France want more spending room despite EU budget rules. BRUSSELS, Oct 24- France and Italy renewed their commitment to reform their economies on Friday in the hope of winning more time to bring their public finances in order but the ECB's president warned more needed to be done to avoid "a relapse into recession." After the bloc's revival came to a halt in the...

  • *Paves the way for U.N. talks in Paris next year. The EU's 2030 goal should inject momentum ahead of a U.N. summit to be hosted by Paris in 2015 to seek a global pact on curbing climate change. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, tweeted the decision gave "valuable momentum for Paris 2015".

  • Oct 24- Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News Corp's British newspaper division who was at the center of a phone hacking scandal, is visiting New York this week, exploring possible jobs, a company spokesman said on Friday. A protege of Murdoch, Brooks has been in meetings at News Corp's headquarters, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, and...

  • Kering, BASF drag down European shares, Ebola eyed Friday, 24 Oct 2014 | 10:24 AM ET

    *BASF retreats after cutting 2015 earnings forecast. *Luxury goods group Kering falls after lower Gucci sales. LONDON, Oct 24- Shares in luxury goods group Kering and chemicals company BASF fell on Friday after business updates, while new worries about the Ebola virus weighed on European stock markets.