NEW YORK, Sept 19- Stock markets around the world closed flat on Friday as early gains failed to hold through the session, though the upward trend in equities continued and Alibaba soared in its historic U.S. trading debut. Alibaba Group, one of the biggest IPOs ever, ended up 38 percent at $93.89 on massive volume.» Read More
TOKYO, May 9- Asian shares mostly slumped on Friday as a tense situation in Ukraine made investors cautious, though a tame inflation report from China calmed some nerves.
SYDNEY, May 9- London nickel prices surged beyond $20,000 per tonne for the first time in more than two years on Friday, climbing nearly 4 percent as a flurry of supply concerns fuelled appetite for the stainless steel material. However, the most-traded August copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed by 1 percent to 47,130 yuan a tonne.
*Toshiba gains on upward revision hopes. *Toyota's weak forecast priced in- traders. TOKYO, May 9- Japanese stocks edged higher on Friday in choppy trade as investors picked up companies with strong growth prospects, such as Toshiba, while concerns about the Ukraine crisis kept investors on edge.
SINGAPORE, May 9- U.S. crude futures held above $100 a barrel on Friday and were set to end a two-week slide, backed by a drop in U.S. oil stockpiles and renewed tensions in Ukraine. *U.S. crude for June delivery was up 21 cents at $100.47 a barrel by 0139 GMT.
*Bank of Korea forecast to raise rates as soon as Q3. SEOUL, May 9- South Korea's central bank held interest rates steady for a 12th straight month on Friday, and while most analysts see rates being raised as early as the third quarter, the bank is expected to stay on hold for the next few months as it analyses offshore risks.
WASHINGTON, May 8- The U.S. In a unanimous vote, the FEC, which enforces U.S. campaign finance laws, said a political committee could accept donations in bitcoins up to an individual limit of $100 for each election cycle and could also purchase bitcoins.
SEOUL, May 9- South Korea's central bank kept interest rates steady for a 12th straight month on Friday as it closely monitors tensions in Ukraine and China's slowdown- but the bank is expected to raise rates possibly as soon as the third quarter.
SINGAPORE, May 9- Gold prices were steady early on Friday supported by geopolitical tensions in Ukraine, with investors eyeing fund flows and Asian physical demand for further cues.
TOKYO, May 9- Asian shares got off to a lacklustre start on Friday after a flat performance on Wall Street, with a tense situation in Ukraine adding to the cautious mood ahead of China inflation data later in the day. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 percent in early trading, while Japan's Nikkei stock average shed 0.3 percent.
*Yen stays firm, Ukraine separatist referendum on Sunday eyed. TOKYO, May 9- The euro was binding its wounds in early trade on Friday after dovish comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi sent the currency tumbling from a 2-1/ 2 year high on Thursday.
May 8- The governors of Maryland and Delaware on Thursday sent a letter to Pfizer Inc Chief Executive Officer Ian Read "expressing deep concerns" about the pharmaceutical company's bid to acquire London- based AstraZeneca Plc.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 8- Apple Inc is close to paying a record $3.2 billion for Beats Electronics, two people with knowledge of the matter said, an expensive foray into music streaming and headphone gear that would mark a departure for the usually cash-conservative iPhone maker.
May 9- For other related diaries, please. SEOUL- Bank of Korea holds Monetary Policy Committee Meeting- 0100 GMT. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew visits China.
ST. PAUL, United States- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota gives keynote address for a recognition event before the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans 2014 Asian Heritage Dinner.
May 8- The proposed $35 billion merger between Omnicom Group Inc, the No. 1 U.S. advertising company, and French rival Publicis Groupe SA has been called off, according to a person familiar with the situation.
NEW YORK May 8- A U.S. bankruptcy judge ordered LightSquared and its chief creditor, satellite owner Charles Ergen, to discuss a settlement after she refused to approve the wireless provider's plan to exit its two-year bankruptcy.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 8- Atomico Partners, a London- based venture firm founded by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, is suing a former employee and consultant for secretly diverting potential Atomico investments to a venture firm that the two were building.
May 8- Apple Inc is close to buying headphone maker Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion, the Financial Times reported. The purchase of Beats, which also runs a streaming music service, would be Apple's largest ever acquisition, the newspaper reported.
*Sees 2015 adj profit/shr $1.84- $1.92 vs est $1.83. May 8- Struggling security software maker Symantec Corp posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by cost cutting, and forecast full-year profit above Wall Street expectations.
Advancing the first legislative effort at surveillance reform since former contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the program a year ago, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee unanimously approved by voice vote the " USA Freedom Act."