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  • MELBOURNE, Feb 17- London copper edged down on Wednesday as oil prices consolidated following a Middle Eastern supply agreement that initially underwhelmed investors, while traders braced for further signs of distress in the global economy. Prices have traded in a $4,430- $4,720 band across February, within reach of 6-1/ 2 year lows at $4,318 from January.

  • Feb 16- Puerto Rico's government "believes that there is substantial doubt" about its ability to continue as a going concern, it said in a draft of its long-delayed Fiscal Year 2014 financial report. The draft, released on Tuesday night, reported a $49.2 billion deficit as of June 30, 2014, which was $2.5 billion higher than in 2013. The report also said the island's...

  • RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif., Feb 16- President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed to pick an indisputably qualified nominee for the Supreme Court and chided Republicans who control the U.S. Senate for threatening to block him from filling the pivotal vacancy. The court said Scalia's body will lie in repose at the Supreme Court building on Friday before his funeral Mass at...

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 17- Gold extended losses to a fourth session on Wednesday as calm in the global stock markets curbed demand for the safe-haven asset that had rallied last week to its highest in a year. *Spot gold had fallen 0.3 percent to $1,196.76 an ounce by 0048 GMT, after losing nearly 4 percent in the last three sessions. It dropped to a session low of $1,190.40 on...

  • BRASILIA/ SAO PAULO, Feb 16- Brazilian state-run lenders are considering converting part or all of their outstanding loans to Petróleo Brasileiro SA into equity in a bid to help the embattled oil producer, two sources familiar with the plan told Reuters on Tuesday. After repeatedly denying the possibility of a bailout, President Dilma Rousseff in January for...

  • SYDNEY, Feb 17- Asian shares were taking a breather on Wednesday, looking to consolidate two sessions of solid gains as risk appetites finally showed some resilience to the latest selloff in oil prices. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off just a shade in early trade, having climbed 3 percent over the previous two sessions.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 17- U.S. crude futures rebounded on Wednesday on investor hopes a deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia to freeze oil output at January levels would lead to a wider pact among producers that could eventually see production cuts to support prices. Top oil producers Russia and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday agreed to limit oil production at January levels,...

  • More than 93 percent of mechanics who voted on the offer decided against it, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said in a statement. "At a time when United Airlines is incredibly profitable, it is clear that mechanics deserve a better offer from the company," Teamsters President Jim Hoffa said in the statement. Its contract offer provided for an immediate...

  • Waterville, ME, Feb 16- The Federal Reserve should be "unhurried" as it considers when to again raise interest rates given problems overseas and financial market volatility that will likely dampen already low U.S. inflation, a top Fed policymaker said on Tuesday. Going a step further than cautious comments he made last month, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren...

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 17- China's vice premier Wang Yang said the government will strengthen efforts to rein in a rapid slowdown in the country's imports and exports as soon as possible to prevent the deceleration from turning into prolonged shrinkage, official Xinhua News Agency reported. Wang said the current situation in the global economy is extremely severe and...

  • NEW YORK, Feb 16- John Paulson, one of the world's most influential gold investors, slashed his bullish bets on bullion at the end of last year, just before the beleaguered market took off for its biggest rally in years, a federal filing showed on Tuesday. The recent cut brought the stake to 5.78 million shares worth $585.9 million on Dec. 31, the U.S. Securities and...

  • TOKYO, Feb 17- The yen retook some ground against the dollar on Wednesday as a recent rebound in crude oil prices fizzled and revived demand for the safe-haven Japanese currency. The dollar fetched 114.09 yen, having pulled back from a one-week high of 114.875 reached overnight. A rebound in crude oil prices from 13- year lows was cut short Tuesday after top...

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 16- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended on Tuesday that blood should no longer be collected from regions where the Zika virus is circulating, and that blood needed for transfusions be obtained from areas of the country without active transmission. The agency said blood banks can continue collecting and preparing platelets and...

  • President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he and leaders of Southeast Asian countries discussed the need to ease tensions in the South China Sea, and agreed that any territorial disputes there should be resolved peacefully and through legal means. But a joint statement agreed on after a two-day summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the...

  • DOHA/ LONDON, Feb 17- The fate of the first global oil deal in 15 years could be decided on Wednesday when OPEC members travel to Iran to persuade the country to participate in a deal to freeze output levels, possibly by offering Tehran special terms. Dominant OPEC power Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia, the world's top two producers and exporters, agreed on Tuesday...

  • TOKYO, Feb 17- Japan's core machinery orders rose 4.2 percent in December and companies expect orders to accelerate further in January-March, government data showed on Wednesday, in an encouraging sign that capital expenditure will support economic growth. The month-on-month rise in core orders, which exclude those of ships and electric power utilities,...

  • NEW YORK, Feb 16- Puerto Rico's Senate on Tuesday passed a bill aimed at overhauling the island's troubled power utility PREPA, pushing the agency a step closer to finalizing a deal with creditors to restructure more than $8 billion debt. The Senate approved the bill, with amendments made by the island's House of Representatives, which passed it on Monday.

  • *Brookfield to offer A $9.05 bln in cash vs Qube's A $9 bln. *Brookfield to bring on Qatar, Canada funds. Asciano, owner of Australia's largest rail freight network with ports in every state, on Tuesday formally dumped a stand-alone bid from Brookfield worth A $8.9 billion in favour of a A $9 billion offer from Australian port company Qube Holdings Ltd..

  • NEW YORK, Feb 16- Puerto Rico's Senate on Tuesday passed a bill aimed at overhauling the island's troubled power utility PREPA, pushing the agency a step closer to finalizing a deal with creditors to restructure more than $8 billion debt. The Senate approved the bill, with amendments made by the island's House of Representatives, which passed it on Monday.

  • *$7 bln cash deal Apollo's second this month. Apollo said it would pay $42 in cash for every ADT share, valuing its equity at close to $7 billion, a 56 percent premium over Friday's closing price. The combined company will be valued at $15 billion, including debt, Apollo said.