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  • TOKYO, Nov 1- Japan's government is ready to strike a deal with the opposition to pass a critical bill needed to prevent a severe funding squeeze and it is now up to the opposition to spell out its conditions, Vice Finance Minister Tsutomu Okubo said on Thursday.

  • European stock index futures trade flat to lower Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 | 7:03 AM ET

    LONDON, Nov 1- European stock index futures pointed to a flat-to-lower open on Thursday, in what is expected to be a light session due to public holidays in part of mainland Europe. At 0703 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 were down 0.3 percent, contracts on Germany's DAX were down 0.1 percent and futures on France's CAC were flat.

  • LONDON, Nov 1- Spain's ``bad bank'' will struggle to find buyers for swathes of empty land, unfinished housing projects and doubtful loans left over from a property crash, hindering Madrid's attempts to overcome the wider economic crisis. Spain is setting up the bad bank, known by the acronym SAREB, under a plan to cleanse the banking system of toxic property assets.

  • *PMIs from India, Indonesia, Taiwan improve. TOKYO, Nov 1- Asian shares fell on Thursday but losses were curbed as the region's factory activity surveys mostly improved, with China's official and private sector manufacturing PMIs confirming a recovery in the growth trend even if it lacked punch.

  • BEIJING/ SEOUL, Nov 1- Big Asian economies are slowly picking up after a year spent battling against global headwinds, according to business surveys and data released on Thursday that showed renewed vim from China's factory sector and a rebound in South Korean exports.

  • *HSBC index highest since February, but still below 50. BEIJING, Nov 1- China's economy is finally regaining some traction, official and private sector factory surveys showed on Thursday, although they pointed to a sluggish recovery with the latter recording its 12th straight month of slowing growth.

  • French firm: 7 kidnapped sailors freed in Nigeria Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 | 4:30 AM ET

    LAGOS, Nigeria-- Kidnappers freed six Russian sailors and an Estonian on Wednesday who had been abducted from a ship off Nigeria's southern delta, a French oil and gas services company said. Typically, foreign companies operating in Nigeria's Niger Delta pay cash ransoms to free their employees after negotiating down kidnappers' demands.

  • UPDATE 2-Hyundai Motor shares tumble on recall rumours Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 | 3:54 AM ET

    SEOUL, Nov 1- Hyundai Motor Co shares fell more than 5 percent on Thursday ahead of the release of its October auto sales figures with analysts citing market rumours that the South Korean automaker may announce a recall in the United States or face fuel-economy related lawsuits.

  • *Net income forecast Y765 bln loss vs prior Y50 bln profit. *To write off Y238 bln goodwill, Y356 bln restructuring.

  • *Net income forecast Y765 bln loss vs prior Y50 bln profit. *To write off Y238 bln goodwill, Y356 bln restructuring.

  • HOUSTON, Oct 31- Phillips 66' s increased access to cheaper crude oil from the United States and Canada boosted its quarterly profits above analyst expectations after the U.S. refining company spun off from ConocoPhillips earlier this year, the company reported on Wednesday.

  • WRAPUP 1-Visa, MasterCard profits rise with card use Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 | 12:48 AM ET

    *MasterCard quarterly profit rises 8 percent. Oct 31- Increased consumer spending and card use worldwide drove quarterly profits higher for Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc, according to new financial reports from the two payments companies.

  • PRECIOUS-Gold flat ahead of China PMI data Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 | 12:44 AM ET

    *Spot gold was little changed at $1,719.96 an ounce by 0025 GMT, after hitting a one-week high of $1,725.55 in the previous session. *Investors are awaiting China's official purchasing managers index data for October due at 0100 GMT, which is likely to show that the country's factory activity accelerated in October to its fastest pace in five months.

  • FOREX-Euro, AUD calm ahead of China PMI Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 | 11:22 PM ET

    *Market awaits China manufacturing data due 0100 GMT. Trading was expected to remain subdued in early Asian dealings as investors wait for the latest reading on China's manufacturing data due around 0100 GMT. There are still question marks over the leadership transition in China,'' said Greg Gibbs, senior FX strategist at RBS in Singapore.

  • UPDATE 4-Barclays hit by fresh U.S. investigations Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 | 10:58 PM ET

    FERC says may fine Barclays $470 million. LONDON, Oct 31- Barclays, already rocked by an interest-rate rigging scandal, on Wednesday disclosed new U.S. regulatory investigations into the bank's financial probity and also said its profit was hit by charges for mis-selling insurance.

  • WRAPUP 1-France, Britain set stage for EU budget wrangling Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 | 10:44 PM ET

    *France objects to proposed farm subsidy cuts. BRUSSELS/ LONDON, Nov 1- British Prime Minister David Cameron came under pressure to act tough on the European Union budget and France threatened to use its veto, signalling a divisive start to bargaining over the 1 trillion euro long-term spending plan.

  • *BG blames Brazil tie-ins, Egypt, North Sea, U.S. for shortfall. *Agrees $1.93 deal with China's CNOOC. LONDON, Oct 31- British oil and gas firm BG Group told investors to expect no output growth in 2013 due to project delays and other factors, prompting a dive in its highly rated share price that wiped out as much as a fifth of its value.

  • *Euro zone ministers confer on how to keep Greece afloat. *Greece slashes forecast of 2013 primary budget surplus. BRUSSELS/ ATHENS, Oct 31- Greece revealed on Wednesday that it will overshoot its deficit and debt targets again next year because of a deeper than forecast recession as euro zone finance ministers debated how to keep the near-bankrupt state afloat.

  • Reuters World News Highlights 2200 GMT Oct 31 Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 | 10:00 PM ET

    BRUSSELS/ ATHENS- Euro zone finance ministers made progress on Wednesday on ways to keep Greece afloat, Germany said, as talks between Athens and its foreign lenders near conclusion over reforms it must implement to receive fresh emergency loans.

  • *France objects to proposed farm subsidy cuts. BRUSSELS/ LONDON, Oct 31- British Prime Minister David Cameron came under pressure to act tough on the European Union budget and France threatened to use its veto, signalling a divisive start to bargaining over the 1 trillion euro long-term spending plan.