*FTSEurofirst 300 down 2.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 falls 2.6 pct. LONDON, June 20- European shares fell on Thursday, with mining and luxury stocks among the top fallers, as markets around the world took fright after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke called time on its bond-buying programme and weak Chinese economic data.» Read More
PARIS, June 20- Financial spreadbetters expect Europe's main stock indexes to drop on Thursday, tracking losses on Wall Street after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke confirmed the Fed would begin winding down its stimulus spending later this year.
BEIJING, June 20- China's factory activity weakened to a nine-month low in June as demand faltered, a preliminary survey showed, heightening the risk of a sharper second quarter slowdown and increasing the heat on the central bank to loosen policy.
*Kuwait faces political uncertainty before surprise elections. The escalation of Syria's civil war- with Iran- backed Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon intervening to aid President Bashar al-Assad, and the United States deciding last week to arm Syrian rebels- has worried Arab governments in the Gulf.
*China June flash HSBC PMI hits 9- month low on weak demand. SINGAPORE, June 20- Oil slipped more than $1 on Thursday, its biggest daily slide in nearly three weeks, as slowing Chinese manufacturing activity unnerved investors already worried about the U.S. Brent crude slipped $1.43 to $104.69 a barrel by 0432 GMT, while U.S. oil fell $1.44 to $96.80.
*Yuan 0.03 pct weaker at 6.1289/ dlr in late morning. SHANGHAI, June 20- China's yuan edged down on Thursday after the central bank ignored gains in the dollar against other currencies to set its dollar-yuan midpoint, signalling a preference for stability.
*Gold down for fourth straight session. SINGAPORE, June 20- Gold fell for a fourth straight session on Thursday to its lowest level since a 15 percent plunge in mid-April, after the U.S. I wouldn't be in a rush to say it's the end of gold, "said Amber MacKinnon, an analyst at Nomura Securities in Sydney."
JAKARTA, June 20- Indonesia will raise gasoline and diesel prices starting on Saturday, the industry minister said, taking a small step to alleviate burdensome fuel subsidies that have undermined confidence in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
TOKYO, June 20- The U.S. dollar rose broadly on Thursday after the Federal Reserve signaled it would begin to dial down stimulus this year as the economic outlook improves.
WASHINGTON, June 20- Four in 10 U.S. adults are now caring for a sick or elderly family member as more people develop chronic illnesses and the population ages, a new study has found. "More health care is happening at home," said Susannah Fox, associate director of the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life project and the study's lead author. "
The group expects 40.8 million people to travel 50 miles or more from home during the July 4 break and 34.4 million of them will drive, a drop of about 0.7 percent from the estimated 34.7 million who drove last year.
SHANGHAI, June 20- China's interbank funding costs surged again on Thursday, with the two shortest-term rates hitting record highs, as the central bank again ignored market pressure to inject funds into the market, despite fresh evidence that the economy is slowing.
HONG KONG, June 20- Hong Kong shares extended losses to a nine-month low on Thursday, with defensive counters sliding after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled a tapering of stimulus and cyclicals hurt by a weak China factory activity.
*London copper falls 1 pct, Shanghai down 1.6 pct. *China's June flash HSBC PMI hits 9- month low. SINGAPORE, June 20- London copper slid to an almost seven-week low on Thursday, dragged down by the U.S.
*China's weak factory data drags down China- related manufacturers. *GS Yuasa soars on battery JV with Bosch.
Midday and afternoon stock markets reports from Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea and the Asia emerging forex report will not be issued separately on Thursday but will be combined into the Global Markets report.
*MSCI Asia ex- Japan slides 2.8 pct to 9- month low. "The Chinese data confirms views that the economy is vulnerable and could heighten the possibility of some policy action to ease investor jitters," said Hirokazu Yuihama, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.
*Hirai says Sony's board will consider Third Point's proposal carefully. TOKYO, June 20- Sony Corp shareholders pressed its chief executive on Thursday for a response to a proposal by hedge fund Third Point to spin off its profitable entertainment business, aiming to invigorate its struggling electronics business.
TOKYO, June 20- Japanese government bond prices eased slightly on Thursday, tracking weakness in U.S. However, it was a far cry from a record low of 0.315 percent reached the day after the Bank of Japan announced sweeping stimulus measures on April 4 to pull the country out of deflation.
SAN FRANCISCO, June 19- A year after Facebook Inc's fumbled IPO, Wall Street remains slow to recognize what Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg argues has been an across-the-board improvement in its business.
WASHINGTON, June 19- President Barack Obama will target carbon emissions from power plants as part of a second-term climate change agenda expected to be rolled out in the next few weeks, his top energy and climate adviser said on Wednesday.