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  • Motiva backs off hydrocracker expansion at Texas refinery Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 3:19 PM ET

    HOUSTON, Dec 17- Motiva Enterprises has withdrawn its permit request to expand a hydrocracker and diesel hydrotreater unit at its Texas refinery, the largest in the United States. In a brief letter received by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month, Motiva asked, without explanation, to withdraw its August permit application for the...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- The U.S. dollar rallied against major currencies after the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement and comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled the central bank was on track to hike rates next year. The euro was last down 1.28 percent against the dollar at $1.2346 after hitting $1.2322, its lowest level against the greenback since Dec. 9.

  • US STOCKS-Wall St adds to gains as Fed upbeat on economy Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:26 PM ET

    NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks extended gains on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a strong signal that it was on track to raise interest rates sometime next year, suggesting confidence in the U.S. economy. "It's pretty upbeat on the economy, and that's what the stock market is reacting to," said John Canally, investment strategist and economist at LPL Financial...

  • CHICAGO, Dec 17- The normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba is an "important opportunity" for U.S. agriculture that will make exports of U.S. farm goods cheaper, easier and less time consuming for shippers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday. President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks extended gains on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a strong signal that it was on track to raise interest rates sometime next year, suggesting confidence in the U.S. economy.

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- The Federal Reserve on Wednesday offered a strong signal that it was on track to raise interest rates sometime next year, dropping a pledge to keep them near zero for a "considerable time" in a show of confidence in the U.S. economy. In doing so, it looked beyond economic difficulties in the euro zone, Japan and Russia and offered a mostly upbeat...

  • *FedEx shares fall after earnings. NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks climbed in early afternoon trading on Wednesday as energy sector shares surged more than 4 percent, though investors were preparing for a Federal Reserve statement that may set the stage for interest rate hikes in 2015.. "Volatility should be expected after the statement because so much is riding on...

  • Bird flu found in wild birds in Washington state - USDA Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:18 PM ET

    Dec 17- Two strains of avian influenza have been confirmed in wild birds in Washington state, near the U.S. border with Canada, but there is no immediate cause for public health concerns, U.S. agriculture officials said on Wednesday. The other strain, H5N8, was found in captive gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds, the USDA said. Neither virus has been...

  • FOREX-Dollar recovers ahead of Fed; rouble off lows Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 10:58 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Dec 17- The U.S. dollar rebounded against major currencies on Wednesday on expectations that the Federal Reserve would signal rate hikes were on track, while the rouble recovered as buyers stepped in to pick up the Russian currency at cheaper levels. "The market is preparing itself for a change in the Fed language," said currency strategist Mark McCormick...

  • Dec 17- U.S. stocks are expected to climb in 2015 as concerns about the prospect of a Federal Reserve interest-rate hike are being offset by hopes for strong consumer spending as oil prices fall, according to a Reuters poll. That would represent a near 12 percent rise for 2015 from a Dec. 16 close of 1,972.74. "The market's ability to withstand higher rates is the big...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- U.S. consumer prices recorded their biggest drop in nearly six years in November as gasoline prices tumbled, but this probably will do little to change views the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates in mid-2015. The Labor Department said on Wednesday its Consumer Price Index fell 0.3 percent last month, the largest decline since...

  • UPDATE 1-Pozen says FDA rejects lead drug again Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 8:18 AM ET

    Dec 17- Pozen Inc said two versions of its experimental heart drug were rejected for the second time by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which again cited deficiencies in the manufacturing plant of a supplier of an active ingredient. Pozen's shares fell nearly 23 percent to $6.99 in premarket trading on Wednesday. Pozen, which first received the rejection...

  • LONDON, Dec 17- The dollar edged up on Wednesday, a day after falling amid a flight to safety as a Russian currency crisis took hold and as speculation grew that the Federal Reserve might take a more cautious tone on monetary policy. The rouble's collapse- 50 percent so far this year- slowed slightly as Russia's finance ministry said it had started selling foreign...

  • Dec 17- Pozen Inc said two versions of its experimental heart drug were rejected for the second time by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which cited deficiencies in the manufacturing plant of a supplier of an active ingredient. Pozen's shares fell 19 percent to $7.30 in premarket trading on Wednesday. The two drugs, PA8140 and PA32540, are being evaluated for...

  • FOREX-Dollar pulls away from lows as it awaits the Fed Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 4:24 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 17- The dollar edged higher on Wednesday after falling the previous day, when a Russian currency crisis took hold and speculation grew that the Federal Reserve might take a more cautious tone on monetary policy. After skidding oil prices helped Russia's rouble to plunge as much as 25 percent on Tuesday, an uneasy calm took hold, as Russia's finance...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 16- A decision by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday to set aside a terrorism insurance bill until 2015 has killed, for now, a provision requiring that one seat on the Federal Reserve's board be dedicated to a person with community banking experience. Congress moved a step closer last week to mandating a seat on the central bank's seven-person board be given...

  • *Japan Tobacco falls on Russia fears. TOKYO, Dec 17- Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday as hopes of a continuation of the U.S. On Tuesday the benchmark closed at its lowest level since Oct. 31, when the Bank of Japan shocked markets by unexpectedly easing policy.

  • *Risk aversion rises on Russia's financial crisis. TOKYO, Dec 17- The dollar nursed its losses in early Asian trading on Wednesday, pulling away from lows hit overnight on skidding oil prices, Russia's financial crisis, and speculation that the Federal Reserve might take a more cautious tone on monetary policy. We also expect committee members to raise their...

  • NEW YORK/ LOS ANGELES, Dec 16- The National Labor Relations Board is expected to rule soon on if, and how, companies can be held responsible for labor violations carried out by their contractors or franchisees- a move that could have far-reaching implications for businesses. In fact, if a conflict is found between the NLRB's stance and findings from other state and...

  • *Moscow stocks plunge; crude trades below $60 a barrel. Three retail trading platforms halted trading in rubles, citing growing signs of stress among the banks that underpin that trade, as speculation mounted that Moscow will impose capital controls within the next few days. "If you have a deeply mono-export culture which is linked to oil, then the consequences of...