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  • Gauge of US economy rises 0.6 percent in November Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:24 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— An index designed to predict the future health of the economy posted a third straight solid gain in November. The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent in November, matching the revised October gain. The October reading had originally been reported as a 0.9 percent increase.

  • *Allianz sells Fireman's Fund personal lines to ACE Ltd.. FRANKFURT, Dec 18- German insurer Allianz on Thursday said it had agreed to sell its Fireman's Fund personal insurance business to insurer ACE for $365 million, freeing Allianz to focus on building its U.S. property and casualty operations. The deal clears up one of two problem areas for Allianz in the...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 18- The U.S. dollar rose against major currencies for a second straight session on Thursday after the Federal Reserve signaled it would hike rates next year and the Swiss National Bank's statement that it would introduce negative interest rates. "The dollar strength today is a continuation of the Fed reaction," said currency strategist Vassili...

  • CRUDE OIL FUTURES TURN NEGATIVE, RETREATING FROM RALLY AFTER 5- YEAR LOW.

  • Rise of the car-sharing apps poses threat to auto sector Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:15 AM ET

    The rise of the likes of car hire app Zipcar and car-pooling rival BlaBlaCar are expected to present new challenges to mass-market carmakers such as Ford, GM, Volvo, Renault and Volkswagen while presenting fresh opportunities for existing rental networks. Online taxi business Uber is another seeking a slice of the market with its UberPop operation, which...

  • Tetraphase soars after releasing clinical trial results Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:14 AM ET

    Shares of Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals soared Thursday morning, a day after the drug developer said its potential infection fighter eravacycline fared well compared to another treatment in late-stage clinical testing. These infections are linked to 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses in the United States annually, according to the Centers for Disease...

  • U.S. leading economic indicator rises in November Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:12 AM ET

    WASHINGTON, Dec 18- A gauge of future U.S. economic activity increased solidly in November, pointing to underlying strength in the economy. The Conference Board said on Thursday its Leading Economic Index rose 0.6 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in October. However, with labor market conditions tightening, we are seeing the...

  • Saudi says oil decisions not linked to politics Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:08 AM ET

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia— Saudi Arabia's Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi says there are no links between the kingdom's decision to oppose production cuts and politics. Last week, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said that the sharp fall in global oil prices is the result of "treachery," in an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia. The kingdom's rivals are concerned that...

  • UPDATE 1-Kraft Foods appoints Chairman John Cahill as CEO Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:04 AM ET

    Dec 18- Kraft Foods Group Inc appointed Chairman John Cahill as chief executive to succeed Tony Vernon, who has headed the company since it was spun off from Mondelez International Inc in October 2012. Cahill, who will remain chairman, formerly worked at PepsiCo Inc and served as CEO of Pepsi Bottling Group Inc.. Kraft said Vernon will retire as CEO on Dec. 27 but will...

  • Dec 18- U.S. industrial conglomerate General Electric Co plans to release its first feature film through video streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV in a marketing effort that raises the bar for sponsored content. In addition, GE will launch other videos to complement the film, such as interviews with Nas and a segment with former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey...

  • Dec 18- Dunkin' Brands Group Inc cut 2015 U.S. same-store sales growth forecast for its Dunkin' Donuts business, citing slowing sales of packaged coffee in its restaurants. Dunkin' Brands also cut its operating income growth forecast and said it expected its joint ventures in South Korea and Japan to weigh on 2015 results. Dunkin' Brands said it expected U.S....

  • LONDON, Dec 18- Shares in Irish airline Aer Lingus surged higher on Thursday, as the Financial Times reported that British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group was considering a takeover bid. Buying Aer Lingus would give IAG additional slots at Heathrow Airport, the main British Airways hub in London which is operating close to its...

  • US stocks open higher, building on Fed gains Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:44 AM ET

    NEW YORK— The U.S. stock market is opening sharply higher, building on gains from the day before after the Federal Reserve indicated it was in no rush to raise interest rates. The market is coming off its biggest one-day rise since October 2013. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 224 points, or 1.3 percent, to 17,580 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time Thursday.

  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard hiring 715 workers Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:37 AM ET

    KITTERY, Maine— Portsmouth Naval Shipyard says it's in the process of hiring more than 700 workers. The Navy shipyard that overhauls nuclear submarines is located on an island in Kittery, Maine. The workforce is divided roughly evenly between Maine and New Hampshire.

  • US STOCKS SNAPSHOT-Wall St climbs at open as oil rises Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:32 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Dec 18- U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, building on gains in the prior session after the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy statement and as oil prices showed signs of steadying. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 130.04 points, or 0.75 percent, to 17,486.91, the S&P 500 gained 16.03 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,028.92 and the Nasdaq Composite added 63.20...

  • Daimler puts aside $748 million for antitrust case Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:30 AM ET

    BERLIN— Daimler AG says it's booking a 600 million-euro charge related to European Union antitrust proceedings against commercial vehicle makers. Daimler said Thursday it's increasing a provision first made in 2011 to deal with the investigation by the EU's executive Commission after reviewing documents on which Brussels based its accusations, which it...

  • LONDON, Dec 18- Brent crude rose 2 percent to above $62 a barrel on Thursday, extending a rebound from five-year lows this week as oil's six-month price rout forced more energy firms to cut investments in new production. Oil this week slumped as low as $58.50 and has almost halved since June as fast-growing U.S. shale output overwhelms demand, with losses...

  • EU leaders meeting about Russia, jumpstarting growth Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:21 AM ET

    BRUSSELS— Leaders of the 28 European Union countries are meeting to talk about two major issues— how to jumpstart sluggish economic growth at home, and how to deal long-term with Russia. EU President Donald Tusk, the official host of Thursday's meeting in Brussels, said he expects the leaders to call for the urgent establishment of a strategic investment fund.

  • *Oracle up in premarket after results. NEW YORK, Dec 18- U.S. stocks were set for a stronger open on Thursday, building on gains in the prior session after the U.S. "The bottom line is a June is still in play and even doves need to tighten at some point when the numbers start looking good," said James Liu, global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds in Chicago.

  • UPDATE 1-ConAgra Foods quarterly sales miss estimates Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:13 AM ET

    Dec 18- ConAgra Foods Inc reported quarterly sales that missed estimates due to weak demand for branded foods and said recovery in its under-performing private-label business would take longer than expected. Shares of the company, whose brands include Chef Boyardee and Healthy Choice, fell 1.2 percent to $36.66 in premarket trading on Wednesday.