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  • *China keeping an eye on heavily-indebted local governments. BEIJING, March 6- China will pursue an expansionary fiscal policy this year to prevent its economy from stalling, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Friday as he assured investors that authorities are keeping an eye on heavily-indebted local governments. China had announced on Thursday a planned...

  • March 6- Hong Kong shares edged lower on Friday in the wake of sobering comments top officials made to the National People's Congress on the economic outlook. For the week, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 2.7 percent, largely in line with mainland bourses. "Hong Kong investors are focusing on the China plate recently," said Castor Pang, head of research at Core...

  • LONDON, March 6- European equities steadied in early trading on Friday after recent sharp gains, with investors seen reluctant to place strong bets before a U.S. jobs report that could provide hints about the timing of a U.S. rate hike. A Reuters survey of economists forecast a 240,000 increase in non-farm payrolls after a 257,000 gain in January.

  • *GDP, c/a due 2350 GMT on March 8, machine orders due March 10. TOKYO, March 6- Revised fourth-quarter Japanese data on Monday is likely to show capital spending was slightly stronger than expected, but overall economic growth was little changed from initial estimates, confirming the economy only managed to limp out of recession. "Capital spending will likely head...

  • BUDAPEST, March 6- Hungary will not support any trade agreement between the United States and the European Union that impairs the jurisdiction of Hungarian courts in trade disputes, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. Orban pointed in particular to the matter of whether trade disputes are solved at national courts or "smuggled out" to an elected court...

  • SINGAPORE, March 6- Brent crude rose to trade near $61 a barrel on Friday as geopolitical tensions in Libya and Iraq stoked supply worries, while traders eyed U.S. rig counts and the outcome of Iran nuclear talks for further trading cues. Fighting has escalated in northeast Iraq where the Islamic State militants have lit up oil wells to deter Shi'ite militiamen...

  • BUDAPEST, March 6- Hungary will not support any trade agreement between the United States and the European Union that impairs the jurisdiction of Hungarian courts in trade disputes, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio in an interview on Friday. "I cannot support any free trade agreement that removes jurisdiction over disputes from the Hungarian...

  • SHANGHAI, March 6- China stocks fell on Friday as investors digested comments by top officials that highlighted growth and debt challenges the country faces this year. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 0.5 percent on Friday, to 3,478.52, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent, to 3,241.19 points.

  • March 6- Lower-cost versions of biological drugs, known as biosimilars, are taking aim at some of the world's biggest-selling medicines. Unlike chemical compounds, such as aspirin or statins, these biotech products are made of hormones, antibodies and other proteins. DIFFERENT REGULATORY PATHWAYS Biosimilars are already sold in Europe, Japan and other parts...

  • *FDA set to decide on approval of Novartis' Zarxio. LONDON/ LOS ANGELES, March 6- A revolution is brewing in healthcare with lower-cost copies of complex biotech drugs finally set to reach the United States, nine years after so-called biosimilars were launched in Europe. The first approval for a biosimilar in the United States is expected imminently- Zarxio,...

  • Aided by foreign technology acquired during three decades of development, China has the highest number of reactors being built and ambitions to export its home-grown models to an overseas market worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And in a sign of progress on exporting its own nuclear technology, China signed a preliminary agreement last month to sell its...

  • March 6- Apple Inc has allowed some companies to test their apps on its yet-to-be-launched Apple Watch and adjust the tools to the watch's design, Bloomberg reported. Facebook Inc, United Continental Holdings Inc, BMW AG and others have spent weeks at Apple's headquarters, working with the smartwatch to test and fine-tune apps that will debut alongside the...

  • India will produce 1.5 billion tonnes of coal by the end of this decade, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told the Coaltrans India conference this week in New Delhi. He still has the problem that nobody believes that state-controlled behemoth Coal India will be able to double its output to 1 billion tonnes per annum within five years. Then there is the challenge of...

  • SHANGHAI/ HONG KONG, March 6- An industrial city in eastern China has closed several factories, including many steel and nickel pig iron producers, in an apparent sign the government is stepping up enforcement of a new environmental law in the face of growing public discontent over pollution. China's vast and energy-intensive steel sector is at the heart of the...

  • TOKYO, March 6- Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a fresh 15- year high on Friday as encouraging comments from the European Central Bank lifted sentiment, but FamilyMart Co fell on news that it was in merger talks with UNY Group Holdings Co. The Nikkei ended 1.2 percent higher at 18,971.00 points, its best closing level since April 2000. FamilyMart dropped 2.2...

  • *U.S. nonfarm payrolls forecast rising 240,000 in February. WASHINGTON, March 6- U.S. employment likely rose strongly in February with the jobless rate slipping, signs that could encourage the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June. "The jobs picture remains extraordinary healthy," said Jacob Oubina, an economist at RBC Capital Markets in New...

  • NEW YORK, March 6- U.S. consumers battered by the wretched winter weather still afflicting much of the eastern half of the country have responded by ordering in rather than eating out, flying more frequently to Florida and cutting out trips to the mall, according to a Reuters review of company data. While the relentless weather has dented traffic and sales for...

  • The company at the forefront of the race, Google Inc, is creating intricate maps that detail every tree and curb along the road- an expensive endeavor that other companies could find difficult to match. Raj Rajkumar, one of the leading experts on self-driving cars at Carnegie Mellon University, said the map-based approach makes sense for a company with Google's...

  • SAN FRANCISCO/ NEW YORK, March 6- Avago Technologies Ltd may be one of the pacesetters among companies looking to make a purchase in the semiconductor industry after its advanced talks last month to acquire Freescale Semiconductor Ltd fell through. Demand for cheaper chips and new products to power Internet-connected gadgets is expected to drive chip...

  • NEW YORK, March 6- Asked last week about his agenda if elected, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker began: "Should I choose to be a candidate..." Like the other would-be Republican candidates who took the stage over three days in Washington at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Wisconsin governor studiously avoided...