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  • New Paris hotel joins race to pamper the super rich Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 12:19 PM ET

    *Hotel helps Paris compete against others luxury capitals. It is part of a battle to attract Asia's new class of super-rich that not only pits the world's top hotel groups against each other but also cities such as Paris, New York and London.

  • LONDON, July 31- Britain imported more oil products than it exported last year for the first time in 30 years, an official report shows, and analysts say the country is likely to stay dependent on overseas oil as its refineries close.

  • BUENOS AIRES, July 31- Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after last-ditch talks with what it called "vulture" creditors failed, as focus turned to whether big banks and funds would request the declaration of a "credit event".

  • *IMF flags China property sector risks. LONDON, July 31- Zinc lost ground on Thursday after inventories rose, highlighting an overhang of supplies that analysts say needs to be eroded before expected shortages kick in.

  • BUENOS AIRES, July 31- Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after last-ditch talks with what it called "vulture" creditors failed, though debt insurance prices on Thursday suggested investors believed a deal could eventually be reached.

  • LONDON, July 31- The euro hovered near a nine-month trough against the dollar on Thursday after data showed euro zone inflation falling to its lowest since the height of the financial crisis five years ago.

  • BUENOS AIRES, July 31- Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after last-ditch talks with what it called "vulture" creditors failed, though debt insurance prices on Thursday suggested investors believed a deal could eventually be reached.

  • SINGAPORE, July 31- Part of a Kurdish oil cargo has been offloaded from a Greek-managed tanker into another tanker in the South China Sea, but mystery surrounds the identity of the buyer and where the two tankers are headed. Iraqi Kurdistan is locked in a bitter legal and diplomatic struggle with Baghdad over international oil sales.

  • *H1 commercial property investment tops 10 bln euros- CBRE. Investors ploughed 10.7 billion euros into French office, retail, logistics and industrial properties in the first half of the year, up 73 percent from the same period last year, real estate adviser CBRE said.

  • *Coming up: U.S. Weekly jobless claims at 1230 GMT. LONDON, July 31- Gold held below $1,300 an ounce on Thursday and was set for its second monthly drop in three as optimism over the U.S. economy curbed demand, offsetting a message from the Federal Reserve it is in no rush to raise interest rates. Spot gold was flat at $1,295.10 an ounce by 1021 GMT.

  • METALS-Zinc falls as stockpiles rise, copper flat Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 6:26 AM ET

    *IMF flags China property sector risks. LONDON, July 31- Zinc lost ground on Thursday from a three-year peak two days before after inventories rose, highlighting an overhang of supplies that need to be eroded before expected shortages kick in.

  • *Bank of Portugal suspends BES risk, compliance, audit staff. LONDON/ LISBON, July 30- Laws may have been broken at Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo during a catastrophic six months that saw it lose 3.6 billion euros, the bank's new management said on Wednesday, as they vowed to raise new cash to bolster finances and to investigate the losses.

  • Lloyds reports big drop in profits amid charges Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 6:12 AM ET

    LONDON— The part-nationalized Lloyds Banking Group says its six-month net profit more than halved to 699 million pounds after it put aside another 600 million pounds to cover the cost of improperly sold payment protection insurance. The group said Thursday the profit fell from 1.58 billion pounds a year earlier.

  • LONDON, July 31- Britain's Serious Fraud Office on Thursday drew a line under one of its most embarrassing and damaging episodes by reaching a second out-of-court settlement over a botched investigation that led to the arrests of two property moguls.

  • *Earnings $6.1 bln vs $5.46 bln forecast. *Raises dividend, flags $30 billion returns to investors. LONDON, July 31- Royal Dutch Shell Plc reported a 33 percent increase in quarterly earnings on Thursday, beating analyst forecasts despite impairments of almost $2 billion after producing more liquids and selling at higher prices.

  • Dow plunges as multiple worries vex investors Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 4:45 AM ET

    NEW YORK— For stock investors, the red flags were everywhere on Thursday. Whole Foods Market and Exxon Mobil sparked the selling after their quarterly results late Wednesday disappointed investors. Yum Brands, the owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, slumped after it said that its earnings would be crimped by a food safety scandal in China that involved repacked meat.

  • LONDON, July 31- Robert Tchenguiz, one of London's best-known property moguls, has reached a 1.5 million pound out-of-court settlement with Britain's Serious Fraud Office over his arrest and searches of his home and business premises in 2011..

  • LONDON, July 31- British utility Centrica posted a 35 percent fall in operating profit for the first half of the year as a mild winter in its home market led to reduced energy demand and extreme weather in North America increased costs. Centrica made 1.032 billion pounds in operating profit, down from 1.583 billion a year earlier, it said on Thursday.

  • *Madrid shares hit after Argentina defaults again. LONDON, July 31- Doubts about the health of Europe's economy dominated trade on its major stock markets on Thursday after a cautious message from the U.S.

  • SINGAPORE, July 31- Singapore risks tarnishing its business-friendly reputation by implementing new labour laws that require companies to prioritise hiring locals over foreigners for middle income jobs, analysts say.