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  • ZURICH, March 31- Switzerland's competition commission WEKO said on Monday it had opened an investigation into several Swiss, British and U.S. banks over potential collusion to manipulate foreign exchange rates. WEKO said it is investigating UBS, Credit Suisse, Zuercher Kantonalbank, Julius Baer, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.

  • Fukushima operator to cut costs, investments Monday, 31 Mar 2014 | 5:42 AM ET

    TOKYO, March 31- Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, said on Monday it plans to cut 576.1 billion yen of costs over a 1- year period and 1.3 trillion yen over three years.

  • *OSN TV unit operates in North Africa and the Middle East. Valued last year at $4.3 bln by Arqaam Capital. The OSN network operates in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • BEIJING, March 31- China's Foreign Ministry on Monday it welcomed comments by the U.S. defence chief saying the United States would exercise restraint in using the military in cyberspace, but added Beijing hoped Washington would match its words with actual policy.

  • *National Front wins 11 town halls. *FN leader Le Pen: party can take lead in EU elections. PARIS, March 31- President Francois Hollande will make a televised statement on his government as early as Monday, a close ally said, after a local poll drubbing for his party handed the far-right victory in a record number of French towns.

  • *C.bank may let yuan depreciate to 6.25/ dollar- traders. SHANGHAI, March 31- China's yuan closed weaker against the dollar on Monday and posted its second-biggest monthly loss on record as the central bank kept up strong pressure on speculators and sought to curb hot money inflows.

  • Euro zone March inflation falls to lowest since 2009 Monday, 31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 AM ET

    BRUSSELS, March 31- Euro zone inflation in March was at the its lowest level since November 2009, a shock drop that was below forecasts and raises expectations for the European Central Bank to take radical action to stop deflation in the currency bloc.

  • Europe leads the way as global market listings leap Monday, 31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 AM ET

    LONDON, March 31- Global initial public offerings almost doubled in value in the first quarter of 2014, Thomson Reuters data showed on Monday, with Europe leading the way thanks to a nascent economic recovery that lifted investors' confidence and stock markets. "There have been some fantastic deals," said Martin Thorneycroft, head of syndicate at Morgan Stanley.

  • *Novartis to seek approval with global regulators. ZURICH, March 31- Novartis has ended a late-stage clinical trial of a chronic heart failure drug early, following strong interim results, giving the Swiss drugmaker a boost after recent setbacks to another heart failure medicine.

  • LONDON, March 31- Global stocks rose on Monday, as investors looked to close a shaky quarter on a positive note on expectations of growth-boosting measures from the euro zone and China, offsetting a reduction in U.S. stimulus.

  • *C/A surplus $5.07 bln in Feb vs $0.22 bln surplus in Jan. BANGKOK, March 31- Thailand's economy is expected to contract in the first quarter after consumption and investment fell, the central bank said on Monday, reflecting how prolonged political unrest is deepening the toll on Southeast Asia's second-largest economy.

  • PARIS, March 31- France cut its public sector deficit less quickly than planned last year, missing the government's target and presenting a new setback for President Francois Hollande. Voters frustrated with a rising tax burden and Hollande's broken promises to turn around the economy punished his Socialist Party in a local election at the weekend.

  • SHANGHAI, March 31- Hong Kong shares finished up 0.4 percent on Monday as casino operators gained ahead of the release of monthly Macau gambling revenue data, while China Construction Bank climbed on forecast-beating results. The Hang Seng Index closed at 22,151.06 points.

  • *Iraq starts production at giant West Qurna-2 field. LONDON, March 31- Brent crude oil traded near a two-week high around $108 a barrel on Monday as tension between Russia and the West offset a rise in oil supply from OPEC's second-largest producer Iraq.

  • BANGKOK, March 31- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday showed up to defend herself against charges linked to a ruinous government rice pledging scheme that could lead to her removal from office. The charges were brought against her by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

  • X2 secures $3.75 bln to create new mining firm Monday, 31 Mar 2014 | 4:04 AM ET

    LONDON, March 31- X2, the investment vehicle run by Mick Davies, the head of mining firm Xstrata before its takeover by Glencore, has raised $3.75 billion which will be used to create a medium-sized diversified mining company, it said on Monday.

  • FOREX-Euro steady ahead of inflation data, ECB Monday, 31 Mar 2014 | 3:59 AM ET

    *Hopes of China stimulus keeping risk demand buoyant. LONDON, March 31- The euro held firm on Monday ahead of inflation data that will set the tone for this week's meeting of the European Central Bank, which again faces the dilemma of whether to take more action to spur growth and weaken the currency.

  • *Euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 index sets 5-1/ 2- year peak. LONDON, March 31- European equities rose for a fifth straight session to a three-week high on Monday on growing speculation that the European Central Bank could ease its policy and China might take steps to stimulate its economy.

  • March 30- Libya's sovereign wealth fund has filed a $1.5 billion lawsuit against Societe Generale, accusing it of funnelling bribes worth tens of millions of dollars to associates of Saif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

  • LONDON, March 31- Lower-rated euro zone bond yields held near multi-year lows on Monday, with an expected drop in euro zone inflation keeping speculation rife that the European Central Bank may loosen monetary policy further later this year.