NEW YORK, March 6- U.S. private employers added a larger-than-expected 198,000 jobs in February, bolstering hopes that hiring across the economy is improving, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 170,000 jobs.
*Diesel was 14 pct below world price before hike- JPMorgan. RIO DE JANEIRO, March 5- Brazil's state-led oil company Petrobras said on Tuesday that it would raise the wholesale price of diesel fuel 5 percent effective at midnight in an action aimed at cutting losses from selling fuel at prices below world-market levels.
*Deal could check Apple's influence at Sharp- analysts. TOKYO/ SEOUL, March 6- Samsung Electronics Co, with a $110 million investment in cash-strapped Sharp Corp, will broaden its supplier base, gain access to low-power thin screen technology and get a foot in the door at one of Apple Inc's key Asian display suppliers.
PRAGUE, March 6- Several top Czech bank websites came under hacker attack on Wednesday, shutting down their internet banking and other online services. The online banking websites of Erste Group Bank's Ceska Sporitelna, KBC's CSOB and Societe Generale's Komercni Banka, along with the sites of some smaller banks, were affected, the banks said.
*MSCI Asia ex- Japan up 1 percent; Australia and China lead. European markets are seen easing from a rally, with financial spreadbetters predicting London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX would open down as much as 0.2 percent.
SAN FRANCISCO/ LOS ANGELES, March 5- Apple Inc has held talks with Beats Electronics LLC, the audio technology firm co-founded by influential hip-hop producer Dr Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine, on a potential partnership involving Beats' planned music-streaming service, three people familiar with the situation told Reuters.
*Announcement expected later in the day- Japan media. TOKYO, March 6- Samsung Electronics Co is set to invest $110 million in Sharp Corp, ensuring it a stable supply of TV panels and bolstering the survival chances of the Japanese maker of Apple Inc iPhone and iPad screens.
*Electoral commission to announce results Wednesday. NAIROBI, March 6- Kenyan authorities hope to deliver the final outcome of a presidential vote on Wednesday, after partial results showed a lead for a politician wanted in the Hague over tribal violence at the last election five years ago.
DETROIT, March 5- Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Alan Mulally this week was awarded performance bonuses worth nearly $12 million, Ford disclosed to U.S. regulators on Tuesday. They were worth $11.7 million based on Tuesday's closing price of $12.88.
March 6- News Corp's education division, Amplify, on Wednesday introduced the first tablet computer built specifically for the classroom, in a bid to capture a slice of the billions of dollars spent in U.S. public schools.
*China aims for 7.5 pct growth in 2013, same as 2012 target. NEW YORK, March 5- Brent crude broke a five-day losing streak on Tuesday, rising by more than 1 percent toward $112 a barrel on optimism over Chinese oil demand, record-high U.S. equities and North Sea supply disruptions. Brent crude futures rose $1.52 per barrel to settle at $111.61.
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CARACAS, March 5- Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday the cancer afflicting Hugo Chavez was an "attack" by enemies among a barrage of conspiracies against him throughout his 14- year rule.
*Apple chairman Levinson in frame to replace Humer. ZURICH, March 5- Roche's influential Chairman Franz Humer said on Tuesday he will not stand for re-election next year when he will have served 16 years at the helm, potentially accelerating a shift of emphasis towards the Swiss drugmaker's U.S. operations.
A rise in spending on specialty drug treatments offset that decline, however, and drove total U.S. payments for prescription drugs up 2.7 percent last year, Express Scripts Holding Co said on Tuesday. For Express Scripts, profit margins on generic drugs are higher than those on more-expensive branded drugs.
March 5- U.S. regulators granted Pfizer Inc a reissued patent on its multibillion-dollar Celebrex pain drug that extends its marketing exclusivity until early December 2015, the company said on Tuesday.
*Kentucky upstart goes after former market leader. WASHINGTON, March 4- A planned merger of two large U.S. mattress companies will force U.S. antitrust regulators to decide how much concentration they are prepared to allow in this once diffuse market.
*More than 1,000 flights canceled in and out of Chicago. MINNEAPOLIS, March 5- A late winter storm dumped heavy snow on the midwestern United States on Tuesday, contributing to numerous highway crashes and flight cancellations as it moved east toward the Ohio Valley and the mid-Atlantic states.
May 26, 1896: The Dow Jones industrial average makes its debut, consisting of the stocks of 12 companies: American Cotton Oil, American Sugar Refining Co, American Tobacco, Chicago Gas, Distilling& Cattle Feeding Co, General Electric Co, Laclede Gas Light Co, National Lead, North American Co, Tennessee Coal, Iron& Railroad Co, U.S.
NEW YORK, March 4- J.C. Penney Co Inc and Macy's Inc should have settled their dispute over the rights to sell Martha Stewart products, the judge overseeing a trial involving the two retailers said on Monday. Macy's claims that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia breached a contract with Macy's when it entered into a deal with J.C. Penney.