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  • LONDON, Feb 17- Britain's largest car dealership Pendragon pledged to double its 2015 interim dividend after strong demand online helped it to post profits and earnings per share up by more than a third in 2014.. The group doubled its proposed final dividend for 2014 to 0.6 pence, and said it expected the 2015 interim dividend to increase by the same amount.

  • DONETSK, Ukraine, Feb 17- Pro-Russian separatists cannot "morally" stop fighting for control of a town in east Ukraine where they have encircled government troops despite a peace deal, a senior rebel representative said on Tuesday. Denis Pushilin also told Reuters before a scheduled conference call on implementation of the agreement that the rebels could not...

  • Profits rise at hotelier IHG on strong U.S. demand Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015 | 2:16 AM ET

    LONDON, Feb 17- InterContinental Hotels Group, one of the world's largest hoteliers, posted a 10 percent rise in 2014 profit, led by strong growth in its core North American market. The group, which owns brands such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental, said on Tuesday underlying annual operating profit rose to $648 million at constant rates, in line...

  • LONDON, Feb 17- German Bund yields fell to near record lows on Tuesday as investors sought shelter in top-rated assets after Greece rejected a euro zone proposal to extend its international bailout by six months. The breakdown in talks between Athens and its European partners raised doubts about Greece's future in the euro zone. The European Central Bank will...

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 17- Erzhong Heavy Industries is set to become the first firm to voluntarily delist from the Shanghai Stock Exchange since the introduction of stricter listing rules- a further sign that tougher regulation is beginning to drive speculators out of loss-making stocks. The transaction, which will be conducted in cash, will require no more than 1.04...

  • Ukraine GDP falls 15.2 pct in Q4 2014 y/y Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015 | 2:01 AM ET

    KIEV, Feb 17- Ukraine's gross domestic product fell 15.2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2014, the Ukrainian statistics service said on Tuesday. GDP fell by 3.8 percent from the third quarter, the data showed. Ukraine's economy has been hammered by a year of political upheaval and war, putting the former Soviet republic on the brink of bankruptcy.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 17- Brent crude prices extended their rally beyond $62 a barrel on Tuesday as the IEA warned of supply risks in the Middle East, although some analysts said that prices had risen too far from six-year lows hit in January. The International Energy Agency's top economist, Fatih Birol, said on Tuesday that the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria...

  • TOKYO, Feb 17- Japan's Nikkei share average fell on Tuesday, retreating from a near eight-year high after talks between Greece and euro zone finance ministers on a new debt deal collapsed. The Nikkei closed 0.1 percent lower at 17,987.09 points, hit by selling in index heavyweight stocks such as Fast Retailing Co, which contributed to a hefty 21 negative points to...

  • *Oil prices firm on supply concern in Libya, Kurdistan. TOKYO, Feb 17- U.S. stock futures and many share markets in Asia retreated on Tuesday after talks between Greece and euro zone finance ministers broke down in acrimony, stoking fresh uncertainty over a bailout programme that Athens has rejected as "absurd". Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who...

  • BEIJING, Feb 17- China's economic growth could slow to between 6.9 percent and 7.1 percent this year as the country fends off deflation risks, the head of the Chinese central bank's research bureau said on Tuesday. "China's economic growth rate may remain stable at a relatively lower level in 2015, between 6.9 percent and 7.1 percent, restricted by sluggish...

  • DONETSK, Ukraine, Feb 17- Pro-Russian separatists cannot "morally" stop fighting for the town of Debaltseve in east Ukraine because it is "internal territory" and must respond to fire from Ukrainian troops, Denis Pushilin, a rebel representative, said on Tuesday. "We do not have the right. It's even a moral thing.

  • REBEL REPRESENTATIVE SAYS SEPARATISTS HAVE TO RESPOND TO FIRE FROM UKRAINIAN TROOPS, WILL NOT WITHDRAW HEAVY WEAPONS UNILATERALLY.

  • SENIOR REBEL REPRESENTATIVE SAYS SEPARATISTS CANNOT "MORALLY" STOP FIGHTING FOR DEBALTSEVE, IT'S "INTERNAL TERRITORY".

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 17- Five Republican state governors say they will not rescue a crucial part of Obamacare if it is struck down by the Supreme Court, underlining the prospect for a chaotic aftermath to a ruling that could force millions of Americans to pay much more for coverage or lose their health insurance. In response to Reuters' queries, spokespeople for the...

  • Ford Motor Co, wrote off its entire investment in Venezuela last month when it took an $800 million pre-tax write down, the company said in response to questions from Reuters. That means no matter how much worse things get in Venezuela it shouldn't have to take further impairment charges. The slow torture of operating in Venezuela led PepsiCo to report last week a...

  • TOKYO, Feb 17- The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria presents a major challenge for the investment necessary to prevent an oil shortage in the next decade, the International Energy Agency's top economist said on Tuesday. While the IEA has sounded warnings that Middle East crude production will need to rise in the 2020 s to meet predicted demand, Chief...

  • SEOUL, Feb 17- Samsung Electronics Co Ltd aims to use its $56 billion cash pile to fund growth including acquisitions, the tech giant's investor relations chief said, even as more shareholders clamor for bigger dividends. While the South Korean company's profit declined in 2014 for the first time in three years as its lead in smartphones was challenged by Apple...

  • Feb 17- Activist investor H Partners Management LLC is seeking immediate ouster of Tempur Sealy International Inc's Chief Executive Mark Sarvary, citing concerns about the mattress company's missed financial forecasts and poor stock performance, the Wall Street Journal reported. H Partners, which owns a nearly 10 percent stake in Tempur Sealy, plans to send...

  • KREMLIN SAYS LEADERS OF RUSSIA, GERMANY AND UKRAINE DISCUSSED EASTERN UKRAINE DURING PHONE CALL.

  • TOKYO, Feb 17- Japanese government bond prices surged on Tuesday after a sale of 20- year debt drew ample investor demand and gave the wary market relief. At an auction of 1.2 trillion yen of 20- year JGBs, the bid-to-cover ratio, a gauge of demand, rose to 3.51 from 3.26 at the previous auction. The 10- year yield fell to a record low 0.195 percent late in January amid the...