*Sumitomo Mitsui jumps after saying to repay bailout funds. *Automakers boosted by Citi target price hike- analyst. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc shot up 4.5 percent to a four-year high after the bank said it would repay 200 billion yen in public bailout money, ending more than a decade of partial government ownership.
*MSCI World index falls 0.6 pct after Italian vote. LONDON, Feb 26- Stock markets and southern European government bonds sank on Tuesday on fears that an electoral stalemate in Italy would leave its economic reform efforts in tatters and reignite the euro zone's broader debt crisis.
VATICAN CITY, Feb 26- The sex and power scandals haunting the Catholic Church look set to play a big role in meetings before next month's papal election after two senior cardinals called on Tuesday for more internal debate about them.
NEW YORK, March 6- Johnson Controls Inc is exploring a potential sale of its automotive electronics business, but has no "current intention" to sell its automotive interiors unit, the company said on Wednesday.
Data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed the consumer price index rose 3.2 percent in February from a year ago, versus expectations of a 3.0 percent rise, while annual industrial production growth in January and February combined at 9.9 percent was the lowest since October 2012- the starting point of China's nascent economic recovery.
OSLO, March 8- Norway's $710 billion sovereign wealth fund has pulled out of 23 Asian palm oil companies after accusing them of causing deforestation, winning praise from environmentalists. It said it sold stakes in the firms after a review of companies that have cleared forests for palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia.
TOKYO, March 11- Yields on Japanese government bonds inched higher on Monday after data showed a sharp increase in U.S. job growth in February, signalling that the U.S. economic recovery was gathering pace.
*Sabah is country's top palm oil growing region. Malaysia's military launched a dawn attack on the group on Tuesday, trying to end a standoff after violence that killed at least 27 people and sparked fears of broader insecurity in Sabah-- the country's top oil palm growing state.
*New presidential election set for April 14. CARACAS, March 10- Venezuela's charged election race kicked off on Sunday with throngs attending mass at the coffin of deceased leader Hugo Chavez and vowing to back his preferred successor, Nicolas Maduro, over likely opposition contender Henrique Capriles.
SAN FRANCISCO, March 9- Unexpected serious side effects arose in a huge study of a Merck& Co long-acting niacin drug aimed at raising good HDL cholesterol, according to data released on Saturday, possibly adding another nail to the coffin of niacin therapy for heart patients.
CAIRO, March 10- Egypt's annual core inflation rate rose to 7.68 percent in February, up from 5.23 percent in January, the central bank said on Sunday.
CAIRO, March 10- Egypt's urban consumer inflation shot up to 8.2 percent in the 12 months to February, statistics agency CAPMAS said on Sunday, as a sliding Egyptian pound pushed up food prices. EFG Hermes economist Mohamed Abu Basha blamed the sharply higher inflation rate on the Egyptian pound's fall, which has pushed up the price of imported food and fuel.
*Family Planning Commission to be merged with Health Ministry. The government will join the Family Planning Commission-- the agency that controls the controversial one-child policy-- with the Health Ministry, and strengthen the powers of the food and drug regulators, it said in a report released during the on-going annual meeting of parliament.
BEIJING, March 10- China unveiled details of a government restructuring plan on Sunday, which will see the number of cabinet-level entities reduced by two, including the dissolving of the powerful Railways Ministry.
March 4- Berkshire Hathaway Inc is on the hunt for more deals like its planned purchase of H.J. Heinz Co, Warren Buffett, the conglomerate's chief executive, said on Monday. "If we get a chance to buy another Heinz, we will do that," Buffett said on CNBC.
At 0701 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were all around 0.2 percent lower.
BRUSSELS, March 6- EU antitrust regulators fined Microsoft 561 million euros on Wednesday for breaking a promise to offer European consumers a choice of web browser.
LONDON, Feb 27- ICE raw sugar futures hovered around a 2-1/ 2 year low on Wednesday, while cocoa eased as rains improved the outlook for crops in West Africa.
*Electoral commission says election on April 14. CARACAS, March 9- Venezuela will hold a presidential election on April 14, officials said on Saturday, as acting President Nicolas Maduro tries to benefit from an emotional outpouring for his late mentor, Hugo Chavez, and win his own term in office.
CARACAS, March 9- Venezuela's Hugo Chavez slid into a coma the day before he died of respiratory failure after cancer spread into his lungs, sources say.