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  • DUBAI, March 20- Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank has invited banks to pitch for the adviser role on its highly-anticipated flotation on the kingdom's bourse, it said on Thursday.

  • US STOCKS-Wall St edges higher after Philly Fed data Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 10:48 AM ET

    Wall Street opened lower but reversed course after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose far more than expected in March, rebounding after a contraction in February.

  • HOLLYWOOD, Fla., March 20- U.S. blacklistings over Russia's annexation of Crimea may spark a sanctions exchange that would leave banks scrambling to assess their exposure to targeted parties and to uncover murky financial linkages, according to industry officials.

  • FACTBOX-Key facts about Europe's banking union Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 10:09 AM ET

    BRUSSELS, March 20- Europe struck a deal on Thursday to complete a banking union with an agency to shut failing euro zone banks, but there will be no joint backstop for a fund to pay the costs of closures. *Banking union was shaped in part by Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, but it falls short of his vision.

  • Philly Fed factory activity index jumps in March Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 10:09 AM ET

    NEW YORK, March 20- Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region expanded far more than expected in March, a survey showed on Thursday. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 9.0 in March from -6.3 in February, topping economists' expectations for 3.8, according to a Reuters poll.

  • UPDATE 5-Brent crude eases on U.S. rate rise expectations Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 10:04 AM ET

    *U.S. stockpiles rise more than expected; fall at Cushing hub. LONDON, March 20- Brent crude oil eased on Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated the U.S. central bank could end its stimulus programme and raise interest rates sooner than expected. Brent was down 11 cents at $105.74 a barrel by 1357 GMT, after settling 94 cents lower on Wednesday.

  • NEW YORK, March 20- U.S. stocks dipped at the open on Thursday as investors continued to digest comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who raised the specter of an earlier-than-expected hike in interest rates.

  • *Ukraine in view as Russia seizes naval bases. *Lennar Corp, Jabil Circuit both rise after results. NEW YORK, March 20- U.S. stock index futures pointed to a modestly lower open on Thursday as investors continued to digest comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who raised the specter of an earlier-than-expected rate hike.

  • UPDATE 2-Europe strikes deal to complete banking union Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 8:44 AM ET

    BRUSSELS, March 20- European policymakers agreed on Thursday to complete a banking union with an agency to shut failing euro zone banks, but there will be no joint backstop for a fund to pay the costs of closures. It completes the second pillar of banking union, starting at the end of the year when the European Central Bank takes over as watchdog.

  • LONDON, March 20- Investment banks must take tough decisions to quit ailing business areas and should reduce their balance sheets by $1 trillion- or almost a tenth- to lift profitability, an industry report said.

  • FOREX-Dollar surges after strong message from Fed Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 8:08 AM ET

    *China's yuan deepens slide, hits one-year low. LONDON, March 20- The dollar powered higher against its major currency peers on Thursday after a surprise message from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen that rises in U.S. interest rates were not as far away as most had thought.

  • Fed to release results of bank stress tests Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 7:33 AM ET

    Banks will find out if the Fed thinks they can cope with the next financial crisis when it publishes the results of an annual health check.

  • SEC reached out to funds with Russian exposure Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 7:11 AM ET

    U.S. securities regulators contacted public funds with investments in Russia to make sure they are managing risks and disclosing their holdings.

  • PRECIOUS-Gold hits three-week lows after Fed comments Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 6:44 AM ET

    *Gold extends losses after falling 1.8 pct on Thursday. LONDON, March 20- Gold hit three-week lows on Thursday after posting its biggest one-day fall since late January in the previous session, reacting to comments from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen suggesting U.S. interest rates could rise sooner than expected.

  • BRUSSELS, March 20- European policymakers agreed on Thursday to complete a banking union with an agency to shut failing euro zone banks but there will be no euro zone backstop for the new fund to help cover the costs of such closures.

  • FOREX-Dollar pauses after Fed-led surge Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 4:49 AM ET

    *Dollar strength helps push China's yuan to one-year low. LONDON, March 20- The dollar steadied against its major currency peers on Thursday after being jerked higher overnight by a surprise message from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen that rises in U.S. interest rates are not as far away as most had thought.

  • HONG KONG, March 20- Hong Kong shares tumbled to an eight-month low on Thursday as disappointing China Mobile earnings and news that the Federal Reserve could raise U.S. interest rates sooner than expected battered the market. The Hang Seng Index ended down 1.8 percent at 21,182.16, its lowest close since July 10.

  • HONG KONG, March 20- Even before Alibaba Group Holding Ltd kicks off its first underwriter meeting for its planned U.S. IPO, traders are pouncing on the deal, betting the valuation of the Chinese e-commerce giant may leap to around $250 billion by the debut, according to IG Group.

  • TOKYO/ SYDNEY, March 20- The dollar traded near two-week highs against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, after comments from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen prompted investors to bring forward their U.S. interest rate hike expectations.

  • *Rebound in China property on private placement approval. HONG KONG/ SHANGHAI, March 20- Hong Kong shares, tracking overseas weakness, fell on Thursday on news the Federal Reserve might raise U.S interest rates sooner than previously thought. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong fell 1.2 percent.

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