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  • 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.

  • NEW YORK, March 13- Cotton is no longer king of the U.S. apparel industry as lower prices fail to revive consumer demand and once-mocked man-made fibers take a permanent place in American wardrobes.

  • WASHINGTON, March 13- A rare U.S. test of its strategic oil reserves may be just coincidentally timed with the most serious stand-off with Russia in decades, but the underlying message of the move announced on Wednesday left little doubt: Prepare for the rise of a new global energy superpower.

  • SHANGHAI, March 13- China's yuan rose against the dollar on Thursday as the central bank set a slightly stronger midpoint for the first time in four days, a move traders said that shows the government is keeping the currency stable.

  • *Shanghai copper to retrace to 44,090 yuan. SINGAPORE, March 13- Shanghai and London copper futures gave up early gains on Thursday, sitting not far off multi-year lows on concerns about China's economic slowdown and high inventory in the world's top consumer of the industrial metal.

  • WRAPUP 1-China Premier Li downplays debt risks Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 | 12:15 AM ET

    BEIJING, March 13- China Premier Li Keqiang signalled 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.

  • JGBs slip, futures pare losses after sharp morning drop Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 | 12:06 AM ET

    TOKYO, March 13- Japanese government bond prices slipped on Thursday, while JGB futures briefly fell as much as one point, on what appeared to be a single order, before paring losses. The Bank of Japan offered to buy a total of 570 billion yen in JGBs in two operations.

  • Treasury debt, much of it offshore, earning them tax-free interest, the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism said on Thursday. The finding means Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Google Inc and Cisco Systems Inc hold a large proportion of the $254.9 billion held in their foreign subsidiaries in U.S.

  • March 13- Readers of some of the top U.S. news sites are more engaged when they go directly to the website rather than through Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center released on Monday. Direct visitors also view about five times as many pages per month as those coming through Facebook referrals or through search engines such as Google Inc..

  • March 13- J.C. Penney Co Inc is about to undo the centerpiece of former Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson's failed vision to take the retailer upmarket. The retailer wants to recapture former clients and go head to head with rivals like Target Corp and Kohl's Corp..

  • BEIJING, March 13- China will continue to support Hong Kong's position as a global financial hub, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday, reassuring the investment community in the former British colony as it adjusts to the rise of Shanghai. Li made the remarks to reporters at the closing of the country's annual parliamentary session on Thursday.

  • *Vietnam, Malaysia send planes to check latest report of debris sighting. At the same time, China heaped pressure on Malaysia to improve its coordination over the search for the Malaysia Airlines plane, which disappeared early on Saturday on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

  • *Concerns over Ukraine, China slowdown and copper rout sap risk appetite. *China retail sales, industrial output and fixed investment data immediate focus.

  • World Bank panel rejects Venezuela's appeal over Conoco Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 | 11:08 PM ET

    CARACAS, March 12- A World Bank panel has rejected Venezuela's request for a new hearing to contest a 2013 partial ruling that it failed to act in good faith regarding negotiations to compensate U.S. oil company ConocoPhillips for expropriations. It also limited the scope of ConocoPhillips' claims by excluding future tax credits.

  • FOREX-Safe-haven yen, franc in favour, Antipodeans surge Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 | 11:04 PM ET

    *Yen and Swiss well bid as China, Ukraine worries fester. *China industrial production and retail sales data eyed. SYDNEY/ TOKYO, March 13- Safe-haven currencies the yen and Swiss franc were in favour on Thursday, consolidating their overnight gains as worries about the health of the Chinese economy and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine took a toll on risk appetite.