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  • SHANGHAI, March 13- From cut-price apple pies to free iPads, companies in China are transforming Sunday's dreaded consumer rights day into a shopping frenzy, to blunt the impact of being named and shamed in state broadcaster CCTV's annual expose. McDonald's Corp is discounting pies three years after food safety lapses made it a one-time target of the...

  • *Tentative deal to end of U.S. refinery strike. LONDON, March 13- Brent crude oil slipped under $57 a barrel on Friday after the West's energy watchdog said a global oil glut was building as U.S. oil production showed no signs of slowing. "The market will be more balanced in the second half, but there is still a massive oversupply in the first half," said Barbara Lambrecht,...

  • MOSCOW, March 13- Russian bank VTB said on Friday it made a profit of just 0.8 billion roubles in 2014, implying it made its first quarterly loss since 2009 in the fourth quarter as sanctions and an economic downturn weighed. VTB, along with larger rival Sberbank, is a dominant player in Russia's banking sector and is under Western sanctions imposed over Russia's...

  • *Europe set for 6th week of gains in a row amid ECB QE. LONDON, March 13- European equities were set for a sixth straight week of gains on Friday, fuelled by a dramatic slide in the euro on the back of the European Central Bank's bond-buying plan that has kept euro zone yields near record lows. "I don't think its an exaggeration to say this week has been a game-changer," said...

  • Jay-Z completes acquisition of music streamer Aspiro Friday, 13 Mar 2015 | 5:25 AM ET

    STOCKHOLM, March 13- Hip-hop star Jay-Z's bid for Scandinavia music streamer Aspiro has succeeded after owners representing more than 90 percent of shares in the Swedish-listed firm accepted the $54 million offer. Married to pop star Beyonce, Jay-Z has had a number of business interests, including 40/ 40 Club sports bars and Rocawear clothing.

  • BEIJING, March 13- China's top economic planning agency issued a final list of restricted and prohibited industries for foreign investors, slightly elaborating on an earlier draft that had been criticised by foreign business lobbies as being too broad. China has vowed to increase the competitiveness of its economy by loosening restrictions on its...

  • Germany's Dax set for 9th weekly gain on euro boost Friday, 13 Mar 2015 | 5:13 AM ET

    *Commerzbank in relief bounce after fine. LONDON, March 13- Germany's Dax index was set for its longest streak of weekly gains since 1998 on Friday as traders added to their bets on an economic recovery in the euro zone, aided by a weak euro. Commerzbank was the top riser on the index as it rose 3.4 percent, with traders citing relief that a U.S. fine announced on the...

  • MOSCOW, March 13- Russia's second-largest bank VTB on Friday reported net profit of 0.8 billion roubles for the whole of last year. Its earnings were hurt by higher loan-loss provisions, which jumped to 275.4 billion roubles last year, and increased funding costs. A Reuters poll of analysts predicted the bank would post a net loss of 2.6 billion roubles for 2014....

  • SYDNEY/ TOKYO, March 13- The euro slipped in early trade in Europe on Friday after a rebound the day before lifted it 1 cent above this week's 12- year lows against the dollar. "I don't think its an exaggeration to say this week has been a gamechanger," said Neil Mellor, a currency strategist with Bank of New York Mellon in London. "The combination of last Friday's jobs...

  • SHANGHAI, March 13- From cut-price apple pies to free iPads, companies in China are transforming Sunday's dreaded consumer rights day into a shopping frenzy, to blunt the impact of being named and shamed in state broadcaster CCTV's annual expose. McDonald's Corp is discounting pies three years after food safety lapses made it a one-time target of the...

  • LONDON, March 13- The rally in euro zone bonds paused on Friday as some investors booked profits after the first week of central bank buying drove yields to record lows. Yields on peripheral euro zone bonds remained pinned near record lows as investors assessed the debut of the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme that will inject about 1...

  • SHANGHAI, March 13- More than half of the high-interest local government debt in China that falls due in 2015 will be covered under a planned local government debt swap, the Ministry of Finance said. On March 8, the ministry announced local governments would be permitted to swap 1 trillion yuan of maturing, high-interest local debt for new official municipal or...

  • TOKYO, March 13- The president of the World Bank said on Friday he welcomed the setting up of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a day after Britain became the first Western nation to embrace the institution. The AIIB was launched in Beijing last year and was seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World and Asian Development Bank.

  • UPDATE 2-Brent falls below $57 on dollar rally Friday, 13 Mar 2015 | 4:26 AM ET

    *End of 40- day U.S. refinery walkout may support prices- analyst. SINGAPORE, March 13- Brent crude fell below $57 a barrel on Friday as a strengthening dollar weighed on commodity markets after profit-taking by Asian investors earlier in the session. Asian investors were also mulling the impact from a tentative deal that would end a strike by U.S. refinery workers.

  • LONDON, March 13- European shares edged up at the open on Friday, setting up Germany's Dax index for its longest streak of weekly gains since 1998, as traders added to their bets on an economic recovery in Europe. Automakers, travel& leisure and real estate were all up 0.6-0.7 percent at 0813 GMT. The FTSE, however, was down 2.2 percent from last Friday's close.

  • March 13- Hong Kong stocks ended firmer on Friday, led by mainland financial shares after China's central bank governor said on Thursday that Beijing is comfortable with the current macroeconomic environment. Hong Kong investors were encouraged by Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan's remarks that showed government support for the stock market.

  • TOKYO, March 13- The president of the World Bank said on Friday he welcomed the setting up of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a day after Britain became the first Western nation to embrace the institution. The AIIB was launched in Beijing last year and was seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World and Asian Development Bank.

  • HONG KONG, March 13- China must make bolder market reforms before Chinese-listed shares can be included in key MSCI emerging market benchmark indexes, leading global fund managers and MSCI insiders told Reuters. Anticipation that MSCI would push ahead with plans to include locally-listed China' A' shares in its Emerging Markets Index, which is tracked by $1.7...

  • ZURICH, March 13- Swiss bank UBS has revised down its fourth-quarter net profit by 105 million Swiss francs, primarily because it increased litigation provisions to 3.05 billion francs. JPMorgan Chase& Co, the largest U.S. bank, in January agreed to pay $99.5 million to settle its portion of the antitrust lawsuit. UBS also said in its annual report that the bank paid...

  • *Gold climbs after longest losing streak since 1973. SINGAPORE, March 13- Gold firmed above $1,150 an ounce on Friday as the dollar nursed losses after an extended rally, but the metal was still headed for its sixth weekly dip in seven on concerns that U.S. interest rates would increase soon. "Gold looks to be finding some support around $1,150 although the...