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  • UPDATE 2-Russia's grain exports stop - farm lobby Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:59 AM ET

    *About 3 mln T of grain are now stuck in Russia- Union. *Wheat futures rise on Russia export curbs. Russia's main wheat buyers are Turkey, Iran and, very vulnerable to supply disruption, Egypt.

  • HeidelbergCement offloads Hanson unit for $1.4 bln Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:48 AM ET

    BERLIN— Germany's HeidelbergCement AG says it is selling its North American and British brick and concrete pipe business, Hanson Building Products, to an American affiliate of investor Lone Star Funds in a deal worth $1.4 billion. HeidelbergCement said Wednesday it expects the transaction to close in the first quarter. HeidelbergCement CEO Bernd Scheifele...

  • Your portfolio in 2015: $1,000 gold, US bulls, banks Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:29 AM ET
    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

    While global stocks look set to finish the year in positive territory, investors planning for 2015 warn markets are currently in a state of flux.

  • Clashes after fatal police shooting near Ferguson Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:24 AM ET
    Police hold back a crowd at the perimeter of a scene following a shooting Tuesday at a gas station in Berkeley, Missouri.

    An angry crowd clashed with police in Missouri after an officer fatally shot a black teen during an armed confrontation.

  • FOREX-Dollar holds near highest in almost 9 years Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:19 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 24- The dollar held near its highest point in almost nine years against a basket of currencies on Wednesday after investors brought forward forecasts for when U.S. interest rates will rise. That was the strongest sign yet that growth has shifted into higher gear and it pushed the dollar index to highs not seen since March 2006, while the two-year yield...

  • NKorea outage a case study in online uncertainties Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 6:35 AM ET

    LONDON— North Korea's microscopic corner of the Internet has had a rough couple of days, suffering seven outages in 48 hours, according to one Web traffic monitor. The mysterious problems have some talking of a retaliatory cyberattack by the United States, which holds Pyongyang responsible for last month's spectacular hack of Sony Pictures.

  • LONDON, Dec 24- The rouble slipped on Wednesday after ratings agency Standard& Poor's warned it could downgrade Russia in the new year, while robust U.S. growth data boosted bets on the Federal Reserve raising rates soon, subduing broader emerging markets. The rouble dropped 0.2 percent against the dollar in the wake of S&P warning that Russia's sovereign rating...

  • Russia in offer to help firms with foreign debts Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 5:04 AM ET

    MOSCOW— With inflation showing clear signs of picking up, Russia's central bank said Wednesday it will look to help companies with their foreign debts— a move it hopes will ease the pressure on the national currency. Following on from other measures to stabilize the ruble, such as a big increase in its key interest rate to 17 percent, the Central Bank said it will...

  • *Rouble dips after S&P puts Russia on junk downgrade warning. LONDON, Dec 24- The strongest growth for the world's largest economy in over a decade meant there was plenty of pre-Christmas cheer in global markets on Wednesday, as stocks continued their strong run and the dollar hovered at an 8-1/ 2 year high. The data drove both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 benchmark...

  • UPDATE 1-Russia may fail to supply wheat to Egypt in Jan Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 4:49 AM ET

    MOSCOW, Dec 24- Russia may fail to supply wheat to Egypt's state buyer GASC in January as its exports have been effectively suspended by informal government curbs, Arkady Zlochevsky, the head of Russia's Grain Union, said on Wednesday. Russia's government imposed informal curbs with tougher quality monitoring and limits on railroad loadings earlier this...

  • Ukraine: Is it time to buy? Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 4:42 AM ET

    Ukraine's bonds have had a terrible year as the country's conflict with Russia wears on, but could be a canny buy in 2015?

  • Spain: New king says corruption must be eliminated Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 4:16 AM ET

    MADRID— Spain's new King Felipe VI insisted in his first Christmas Eve speech Wednesday that seemingly endless examples of corruption across the country incensing voters must be stamped out. She faces up to eight years if convicted in an alleged scheme that funded a lavish lifestyle for her and her husband at their Barcelona mansion. "Logically, his sister and...

  • Dec 24- Top European truckmakers operated a cartel for 14 years to delay the progress of emissions-reducing technology, the Financial Times reported, citing leaked documents in a European Commission investigation. The newspaper said that one of the documents states that DAF Trucks, Daimler, Iveco, Scania, Volvo and MAN "agreed the timing and price increase...

  • European shares inch up in shortened session Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 3:03 AM ET

    PARIS, Dec 24- European stocks inched up on Wednesday in a shortened session ahead of the Christmas break, gaining ground for the seventh day in a row and mirroring a rally on Wall Street fuelled by unexpectedly strong U.S. The London Stock Exchange is set to close the session at 1230 GMT, while Euronext markets will close at 1305 GMT, along with the Madrid Stock...

  • Auto industry acts globally _ except on recalls Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 3:01 AM ET

    Six years ago, Honda began recalling driver's side air bags in the U.S. The air bags, made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. at a now-shuttered plant in Georgia, can inflate with too much force, spewing shrapnel into the vehicle. But it wasn't until November of this year— after the death of a driver in Malaysia— that Honda recalled driver's side air bags in small cars...

  • Incense trees flourish again in Hong Kong Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 2:47 AM ET

    HONG KONG— On land deep in Hong Kong's lush green northern suburbs near the border with mainland China, farmer Koon- wing Chan is working to keep a legendary scent alive in the city known as the Fragrant Harbor. There's no one else that plants these trees, "said Chan, 55, who returned to Hong Kong in 2009 ago to revive the plantation after nearly a decade spent working in...

  • Egypt tattoo artists meet in Cairo, aim to break taboos Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 2:27 AM ET

    CAIRO— In Egypt, where tattoos are widely considered taboo, organizers have held a convention to challenge stereotypes and show-off the ink designs as an art form. Organizers say they hope to showcase the artistic side of the practice, which is loosely regulated in Egypt and mostly performed by artists using licenses for beauty parlors. Timur Reda, 38, who has...

  • US stocks eke out gains in abbreviated trading day Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 12:52 AM ET

    Investors welcomed Labor Department data showing that applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in seven weeks. The news came a day after the Commerce Department estimated that the economy grew in the July-September quarter at the fastest pace in 11 years. "We're still giddy after yesterday's GDP," said Chris Gaffney, a senior...

  • TOKYO, Dec 24- Japanese government bonds were mostly steady on Wednesday, with trading volumes in both cash and futures markets thin ahead of the long Christmas holiday weekend in the U.S. and Europe. The Bank of Japan refrained from offering to buy JGBs under its asset purchase programme. Market participants now expect the central bank to buy 400 billion yen of...

  • BEIJING, Dec 24- China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has taken sales of its low-price Honor brand of smartphones to 20 million from 1 million in just one year, hitting pay dirt with the disruptive online-only strategy it copied from smaller upstart Xiaomi Inc.. But analysts say the low-cost strategy has fanned the price wars and thin profit margins prevalent in...