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*FirstGroup shares fall 18 pct; company says followed guidelines.
*Australia trade deficit balloons unexpectedly. LONDON, Oct 3- The euro zone's economic woes increased last month and China's slowdown looked likely to extend to a seventh quarter, surveys showed on Wednesday, but there was better-than-expected news on U.S. jobs.
BRUSSELS, Oct 3- The following are mergers under review by the European Commission and a brief guide to the EU merger process:. --Private equity firms Carlyle and BC Partners to acquire U.S. industrial pumps maker Hamilton Sundstrand Industrial which is owned by United Technologies Corp.
SOFIA, Oct 3- Bulgaria has managed to navigate the euro zone's debt crisis with little damage thanks to tight fiscal policy at the expense of slow growth that is keeping living standards among the European Union's lowest. Following are the main political risks for Bulgaria: GOVERNMENT SUPPORT.
Taiwan's EVA Airways recently announced it will begin Yangon- Bangkok- Taipei flights on Oct. 19. Deputy Director of Civil Aviation Nweni Win Kyaw told The Associated Press several other airlines have recently announced direct flights to Yangon, including Korean Air, Japan's ANA and Germany's Condor.
*FTSE 100 edges up 0.1 percent, lifted by bank and mining stocks. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent, or 4.25 points, at 5,813.70 points around midday. Signs of the index holding above the 5,800 point level-- seen by many technical traders as key to propelling further gains-- have enabled modest, short-term increases on the FTSE 100 this week.
Shares in Lamprell fall 32 percent to 75 pence, their lowest level since 2009, after the battered oil rig maker issues its fourth profit warning since the spring on continued contract delivery issues.
WARSAW, Oct 3- Poland wants its new shale gas law to go into force next year, Piotr Wozniak, the deputy environment minister responsible for the draft law said on Wednesday, but added that it would be best if a shale gas tax waited until at least 2016..
China's official services PMI slowed to 53.7 percent in September from 56.3 in August, highlighting the economy's seventh straight quarter of slowdown, while Australia posted weak export data.
LONDON, Oct 3- British prompt gas prices rose to a one-week high on Wednesday as a drop in flows from liquefied natural gas terminals and low imports from the Netherlands and Norway left the market undersupplied. Gas for within-day delivery rose 1.20 pence to 61.70 pence per therm at 1014 GMT, the highest since Sept. 26, while day-ahead gas.
MADRID, Oct 3- Two Spanish shareholders in French property company Gecina confirmed filing for bankruptcy on 1.6 billion euros of debt on Wednesday. In a joint statement, Alteco and MAG Import said the filing follows disagreements with a banking syndicate, of which one bank refused to refinance the loan. The two firms own a combined 31 percent of Gecina.
*Spread betters offering 179- 189 pence range. LONDON, Oct 3- Order books for the London stock market listing of Royal Bank of Scotland's insurance business, Direct Line Group, have been covered three days into a nine day investor roadshow, sources close to the transaction said on Wednesday.
LONDON, Oct 3- The London Stock Exchange's. Kevin Milne, who headed post-trade services at the LSE until June, has become chief executive of Rate Validation Services, a Singapore- based firm that provides benchmark rates to investment banks, the company said in a statement.
MADRID-- Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos says a `bad bank' being set up to allow lenders to offload bad investments will be 55 percent privately-owned. De Guindos defended Spain's banks, saying an independent audit last week showed "70 percent of the financial sector is in condition to handle a severely stressed situation."
*Retail trade rises 0.1 pct in August from July. BRUSSELS, Oct 3- Retail sales in the euro zone barely rose in August as motorists cut back spending on fuel during the normally busy driving months of the European summer, worried about the economy's slide towards recession.
The asset management business of Aviva Plc named Patrick Brien as chief executive of its Asia Pacific region. Bank of Nova Scotia named Troy Wright as president and chief executive of its Mexican unit, Grupo Financiero Scotiabank Mexico, on Tuesday.
VATICAN CITY, Oct 3- Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's former butler who is on trial for stealing sensitive documents, was in possession of some which the pope had marked "to be destroyed," police testified at his trial on Wednesday.
Oct 03-============================================================================== Summary analysis-- Telefonica S.A.------------------------------- 03- Oct-2012=============================================================================== CREDIT RATING: BBB/Negative/A-2 Country: Spain Primary SIC: Telephone communications, exc. radio Mult.
*China, Europe services PMI disappoint. LONDON, Oct 3- Crude oil prices fell on Wednesday, as weak data from Europe and China dimmed the outlook for demand, while Europe's festering debt crisis added to the gloom. Brent November crude futures had fallen 96 cents to $110.61 a barrel by 1000 GMT.
MILAN, Oct 3- Italian oil services company Saipem. said on Wednesday it was awarded a three-year $550 million contract from Statoil to provide drilling services in the off Norway. Scarabeo 5 has been working continuously since 1990 in the Norwegian North Sea.