BEIJING, July 31- Weakness in China's real estate sector poses near-term risks for the world's second-largest economy, a senior International Monetary Fund official said on Thursday.» Read More
YATSENIUK SAYS UKRAINE WILL NEVER RECOGNISE CRIMEAN TAKEOVER IN RETURN FOR GOOD RUSSIA RELATIONS.
*Regulator urges banks to act to curb bad loans. SHANGHAI, April 4- The China Banking Regulatory Commission has said it will conduct regional and national stress tests after banks saw a spike in bad loans last year, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Friday, reflecting growing concerns over credit risk.
FRANKFURT, April 4- Regular meetings of the world's leaders and central bankers have little short-term impact on financial markets, despite extensive media coverage, according to research published by the European Central Bank on Friday.
*Humble roots a key to Modi's popularity in India. *In Gujarat state, as across India, opinion divided. VADNAGAR, India, April 4- Narendra Modi spent his childhood in a modest three-room dwelling made of mud and brick nestled in a narrow, crowded lane in the western Indian town of Vadnagar.
LONDON, April 4- European shares advanced for a ninth straight session on Friday, with investors betting a U.S. jobs report would show recent economic weakness was due to the cold winter and that the recovery remains on track.
*Pimco performance, governance issues worry Allianz owners. FRANKFURT, April 4- Several of the biggest investors in Allianz are pressing the German insurer to step up oversight of its California asset management unit Pimco and one is considering the unusual step of going public with its concerns at a shareholder meeting in May.
WASHINGTON, April 3- China should not doubt the U.S. commitment to defend its Asian allies and the prospect of economic retaliation should also discourage Beijing from using force to pursue territorial claims in Asia in the way Russia has in Crimea, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
*Markets in cautious mood ahead of U.S. jobs report. LONDON, April 4- Investors took to the sidelines ahead of monthly U.S. employment data on Friday, with whisper numbers pointing to a strong showing, and the euro nursed losses after the European Central Bank opened the door to more aggressive easing, albeit not yet.
BEIJING, April 4- China's current account surplus was equivalent to 2 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, down from 2.6 percent in the previous year, official data showed, as the government seeks to reduce the economy's reliance on external demand.
SHANGHAI, April 4- Hong Kong shares finished lower on Friday, dragged down by sliding tech shares and a steep fall in Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.. Tencent joined the slide in its U.S. listed peers on increasing investor concerns the technology sector is over valued.
LONDON, April 4- The world's $87 trillion asset management industry is getting riskier and echoes some of the "too big to fail" risks already being addressed at banks, Bank of England director of financial stability Andy Haldane said on Friday.
*Russia hikes gas prices for Ukraine by 80 pct. LONDON, April 4- Brent crude oil rose further above $106 a barrel on Friday as investors cast doubt on reports that Libya's major oil ports were about to reopen, boosting dramatically supply of high quality fuel to world markets.
SYDNEY, April 4- Investors wanting to profit from steadily increasing home construction in Australia without being overly exposed to the property sector's volatility are loading up "secondary exposure stocks" such as paints and building material suppliers.
Greece hired a group of banks to manage the sale of a 2 billion euro five-year bond on Thursday, Thomson Reuters market service IFR reported, with sources suggesting the bonds will be issued sometime in April. Standard and Poor's and Fitch rank Greece six notches below investment grade at B+.
HONG KONG, April 4- Political gridlock is slowing U.S. economic growth, impacting the confidence and budgets of businesses across the country, a top Fed official said here on Friday. Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher took a swipe at U.S. politicians and their inability to cooperate, and accused them of impeding jobs growth.
KIEV, April 4- McDonald's has suspended work at its restaurants in Crimea for "manufacturing reasons", the U.S. fast food chain said on Friday, the second international company to cease operations this week on the peninsula annexed by Russia.
LONDON, April 4- The dollar was in demand on Friday, trading at a five-week high against a basket of currencies, as investors positioned for the possibility of an upside surprise in U.S. non-farm payrolls due later in the day. The dollar index was up at 80.532, its highest level since Feb. 27.
SINGAPORE, April 4- London aluminium was on track for its biggest weekly gain in 16 months on Friday, rising to its highest in more than five months as a series of capacity cutbacks by top producers underpinned the market. Copper rose 0.6 percent, recouping last session's decline which was driven by disappointment over China's stimulus measures.
*Deal could create a $23 billion drug company. *Meda confirms has had initial talks with Mylan- report. STOCKHOLM, April 4- Generic drug maker Mylan Inc is looking to buy Swedish rival Meda AB in a deal that would create a $23 billion pharmaceutical company, the Financial Times reported.
SHANGHAI, April 4- China shares closed higher on Friday, buoyed by strong financials and a surge in rare earths, as investors speculated in growth in the sector, following surges in the recently opened rare earths exchange.