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  • *China's Jan-Feb economic activity cools to multi-yr lows. SINGAPORE, March 13- Brent futures held above $108 a barrel on Thursday as investors focused on risks from the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, which overshadowed latest China data showing factory output in the world's second-biggest oil consumer lagged forecasts.

  • KUALA LUMPUR/ HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, March 13- U. S. investigators probing the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet believe it may have flown for four hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

  • HONG KONG, March 13- Hong Kong stocks ended lower on Thursday, thanks to disappointing China economic data in the afternoon that caused an index of Chinese shares listed in the city to close at a fresh eight-month low. The benchmark Hang Seng Index ended down 0.7 percent at 21,756.1 points, the lowest close since Feb. 10.

  • While product recalls are not uncommon, the FDA announcement comes amid a string of quality problems for Indian drug makers. And just last week, the FDA disclosed that products made by Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd were being recalled.

  • TOKYO, March 13- Japan put two reactors on a shortlist for a final round of safety checks on Thursday, moving a step closer to a revival of the country's nuclear industry, three years after the Fukushima disaster led to the shutdown of all plants.

  • BEIJING, March 13- China's economy slowed markedly in the first two months of the year, with growth in investment, retail sales and factory output all falling to multi-year lows, a surprisingly weak performance that raises the spectre of a sharper cooldown.

  • HONG KONG, March 13- Shanghai shares rose on Thursday, though disappointing China data in the afternoon pulled stocks off highs reached on reports about an anticipated preferred shares pilot programme in the mainland. The CSI300 of the largest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings rose 1.2 percent.

  • Alibaba close to deciding on New York as IPO venue -FT Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 | 2:54 AM ET

    HONG KONG, March 13- Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding is "95 percent certain" to choose New York as a listing venue for its initial public offering, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources close to the deal. The company is no longer discussing a potential listing in Hong Kong, the newspaper added, citing the sources.

  • *Asian shares rebound after big losses but gains cut after soft China data. *Concerns over Ukraine, China slowdown and copper rout sap risk appetite.

  • BEIJING, March 13- China's real estate investment slowed in the first two months of 2014 while sales dropped from a year earlier, official data showed on Thursday, the latest signs of cooling in the property market as the broader economy as slows.

  • *Euro's gains capped slightly after lukewarm China data. Recent economic indicators from the euro zone have been upbeat as a whole, decreasing expectations for further easing, "said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust in Tokyo.

  • It raises the possibility that the plane, and the 239 people on board, could have flown on for additional distance of about 2,200 miles, potentially reaching the border of Pakistan or as far as destinations in the Indian Ocean or Arabian Sea, the paper said.

  • *Tainted material to be removed in days- Imdex. *Imdex may have one other customer using tainted product. Origin said the supplier of some of its drilling fluids, Australian Mud Company, owned by Imdex Ltd, had found that its imported walnut-shell based product Nutplug contained asbestos.

  • LAUNCESTON, Australia, March 13- Conventional thinking is that iron ore prices have plunged this year because of concerns about China's economic growth outlook, but it's possible the reverse is the case.

  • TOKYO, March 13- Japan's Nikkei share average edged down to a 1-1/ 2- week low on Thursday, erasing earlier gains after weaker-than-expected Chinese output and retail sales data disappointed the market. The Nikkei ended down 0.1 percent at 14,815.98, the lowest closing level since March 4.

  • SINGAPORE, March 13- Brent futures inched higher on Thursday, holding above $108 a barrel, as investors focused on risks from the unfolding crisis in Ukraine and as OPEC raised its 2014 global oil demand growth forecast for a second straight month. Brent crude rose 24 cents to $108.26 by 0203 GMT, after ending 53 cents down at its lowest in a week.

  • BEIJING, March 13- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signalled on Thursday that his government will not ride to the rescue of every troubled investment by saying some loan defaults are "hard to avoid" in what he called a challenging economic environment.

  • *Genesis offer to open March 29 after bookbuild. WELLINGTON, March 13- New Zealand is seeking to raise as much as NZ $800 million through the sale of a minority stake in power company Genesis Energy Ltd, setting a low price range and offering other sweeteners to draw investors to the last of its state asset sales.

  • KUALA LUMPUR/ PHU QUOC, Vietnam, March 13- Search planes found no sign on Thursday of a missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft in an area where satellite images had shown debris, taking the as-yet fruitless hunt into the sixth day.

  • HONG KONG/ SHANGHAI, March 13- Chinese stocks rose on Thursday, pulling up Hong Kong's market, led by banking counters that could be the first ones joining an anticipated preferred shares pilot programme in the mainland. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 1.4 percent.