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  • *HSBC flash PMI shows improvement in Chinese factory activity. The yen eased and the Australian dollar pushed higher after a preliminary HSBC survey showed that China's factory sector turned in its best performance in five months in May, although overall manufacturing growth still contracted slightly.

  • SINGAPORE, May 22- Gold held steady on Thursday but was at risk of dropping as holdings in the top bullion-backed fund fell the most in three weeks to a fresh five-year low. "The trading ranges are getting narrower but a breakthrough isn't very far away," said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.

  • Brent steady above $110 on China PMI, lower US stocks Thursday, 22 May 2014 | 12:04 AM ET

    SINGAPORE, May 22- Brent crude steadied near a 2-1/ 2 month high above $110 a barrel on Thursday, supported by a large draw in U.S. crude stocks and signs of improvement in China's manufacturing growth.

  • JD.com CEO Liu awarded $591 mln share bonus ahead of IPO Wednesday, 21 May 2014 | 11:43 PM ET

    HONG KONG, May 22- China's No.2 e-commerce company, JD.com Inc., awarded CEO and founder Richard Liu a one-off bonus as the company prepared for its U.S. The deal was priced at $19 per share, above the $16 to $18 per share marketing range for the IPO.

  • METALS-London copper climbs on China, U.S. hopes Wednesday, 21 May 2014 | 11:34 PM ET

    *China flash HSBC PMI beats forecasts. SYDNEY, May 22- London copper edged up on Thursday from a nine-day low hit the session before, supported by a robust reading of China's factory sector and signals U.S. rate hikes were not likely in the near-term.

  • EBay says encrypted passwords were taken. BOSTON, May 21- EBay Inc said that hackers raided its network three months ago, stealing some 145 million user records from a database in what is poised to go down as one of the biggest data breaches in history based on the number of accounts compromised.

  • May 21- Activist investor Starboard Value LP, which didn't want Darden Restaurants Inc to sell the Red Lobster seafood chain, is launching a fight to take over the Darden board, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Darden said on May 16 it would sell Red Lobster to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in cash.

  • BEIJING, May 22- China will begin checking computer systems used in government departments to protect "sensitive data", the official Xinhua news agency said via its microblog on Thursday, amid a row over cyberspying with the United States.

  • JGBs edge lower, taking cue from Nikkei rally Wednesday, 21 May 2014 | 11:06 PM ET

    TOKYO, May 22- Japanese government bond prices ended the morning session modestly lower on Thursday, as rallying equities undermined the appeal of safe-haven fixed income assets.

  • JGBs softer as Nikkei rises, auction in focus Wednesday, 21 May 2014 | 10:53 PM ET

    TOKYO, May 22- Japanese government bond prices were slightly softer on Thursday as share markets rose, but remained in a familiar range, with immediate focus on a 400 billion yen sale of long-dated bonds. The 10- year cash JGB yield rose 0.5 basis point to 0.595 percent while the 10- year JGB futures price dipped 0.04 point to 145.18.

  • BOSTON, May 21- EBay Inc said that hackers raided its network three months ago, stealing some 145 million user records from a database in what is poised to go down as one of the biggest data breaches in history based on the number of accounts compromised.

  • TOKYO, May 22- Asian shares and the Australian dollar rose on Thursday after an upbeat reading on China's factory sector blunted some of the more pessimistic views on the world's second-biggest economy, supporting risk appetite already burnished by a strong session on Wall Street.

  • BEIJING, May 22- A blast in the capital of China's western region of Xinjiang killed and injured an unknown number of people after explosives were hurled from two vehicles, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

  • *Sanrio dives as GS cuts target on plan to shift focus to goods sales. TOKYO, May 22- Japan's Nikkei share average rose sharply on Thursday morning as a survey showing an encouraging improvement in Chinese manufacturing added to an already upbeat mood after the U.S. Fanuc Corp gained 0.7 percent and Komatsu Ltd added 0.6 percent.

  • *China factory actvitiy improves but still contracts. *HSBC sees some signs of stabilisation in economy. BEIJING, May 22- China's factory sector turned in its best performance in five months in May, a preliminary HSBC survey showed on Thursday, though overall manufacturing growth still contracted slightly in a suggestion that the outlook remains murky.

  • SYDNEY, May 22- London copper edged up on Thursday from a nine-day low hit the session before after Federal Reserve meeting minutes reassured markets that discussions around rate hikes were "prudent planning" and not a sign hikes would come any time soon.

  • U.S. House poised to reject Pentagon's cost-cutting plans Wednesday, 21 May 2014 | 9:19 PM ET

    WASHINGTON, May 21- The House of Representative on Wednesday edged toward passage of an annual defense policy bill that rejects Pentagon plans to retire older weapons systems and slow the rise in military pay as it implements long-term spending cuts ordered by Congress.

  • TOKYO, May 22- A strong session on Wall Street led Asian shares up on Thursday, after minutes of the U.S. "There was a lot of rejoicing at the Fed minutes; a one line synopsis of the release would read- the Fed continues to champion accommodation for the foreseeable future," Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, said in a note to clients.

  • WASHINGTON, May 21- A Georgia food products firm has recalled 23,250 pounds of fully cooked breaded chicken breast and tender products because of misbranding and undeclared allergens, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said on Wednesday.

  • PRECIOUS-Gold inches down as fund outflows gather pace Wednesday, 21 May 2014 | 8:34 PM ET

    SINGAPORE, May 22- Gold slipped on Thursday as the top bullion-backed fund posted its biggest outflow in three weeks and after the U.S. *Spot gold had fallen $1 to $1,290.40 an ounce by 0024 GMT. *Rio Alto Mining Ltd said it would buy Sulliden Gold Corp Ltd in a deal valued at about C $300 million, creating a gold miner focused on Peru.