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  • SHANGHAI/ BEIJING, March 30- China on Monday courted home buyers with a bigger tax break as it cut downpayment requirements for the second time in six months, stepping up a fight against sliding house prices that is imperiling the world's second-biggest economy. The People's Bank of China said on its website that commercial banks can now lower their minimum...

  • Alcoa to shut Sao Luis smelter in Brazil Monday, 30 Mar 2015 | 9:07 AM ET

    March 30- Aluminum maker Alcoa Inc said on Monday it would shut the remaining 74,000 metric tons of capacity at its Sao Luis smelter in Brazil due to weak metal prices and high costs. The refinery at Sao Luis will continue normal operations, Alcoa said. Once smelting is stopped at Sao Luis on April 15, Alcoa will have idled about 740,000 metric tons, or 21 percent, of its...

  • NEW YORK, March 30- Morgan Stanley has agreed to sell a compressed natural gas business that came under regulatory scrutiny shortly after its launch last year, according to a document obtained by Reuters and three people familiar with the matter. Two Morgan Stanley managers who were involved with Wentworth, Alberto Chiesara and Ryan Comerford, are leaving to...

  • *Test puts HSBC, Standard Chartered in the spotlight. "By assessing the resilience of the UK banking system against a major external shock we will improve further our ability to identify vulnerabilities and we will ensure that banks have plans in place to address a wider range of possible stresses," BoE Governor Mark Carney said on Monday. That leaves six banks and...

  • *More price falls seen as U.S. stocks are sold off- Barclays. LONDON, March 30- Oil prices fell on Monday as officials from Iran and six world powers discussed a possible deal over Tehran's nuclear programme that could bring an end to sanctions and allow an increase in Iranian oil exports. "Regarding Iran, there are two possible outcomes: a framework deal or an extended...

  • TORONTO, March 30- The head of the Bank of Canada said a slump in oil prices is having an "atrocious" effect on the Canadian economy but a cheaper currency and incipient U.S. revival should help exports drive a recovery, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Governor Stephen Poloz said in an interview with the newspaper that the central bank still had many options...

  • *M&A deal lifts sentiment; UnitedHealth unit to buy Catamaran. Oil prices volatile amid potential deal with Iran. Despite that, energy shares could come under pressure as crude oil fell on a possible deal with Iran, which could bring an end to sanctions and allow an increase in the country's oil exports.

  • Germany's Merkel says Greek reforms must "add up" Monday, 30 Mar 2015 | 8:44 AM ET

    HELSINKI, March 30- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Greece had a certain degree of flexibility on which reforms it implements but that the measures must "add up" to the satisfaction of its European partners. "The question is can and will Greece fulfil the expectations that we all have," Merkel said during a visit to Helsinki.

  • UPDATE 1-Yoox confirms Net-a-Porter merger talks Monday, 30 Mar 2015 | 8:39 AM ET

    MILAN/ PARIS, March 30- Italian online fashion retailers Yoox and Richemont's Net-a-Porter confirmed merger talks were under way to create an industry leader in the fast-growing online fashion market. Sources told Reuters at the weekend that a purchase of Net-a-Porter by Yoox could be announced as early as this week, sending shares in the Italian group up more...

  • TOKYO, March 30- Prospects for legalizing casino gambling in Japan suffered another blow on Monday as proponents said they would delay a bill allowing "integrated resorts," as the ruling coalition remains divided on the controversial measure. Companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International have been hoping Japan will unlock a casino...

  • TOKYO, March 30- Prospects for legalising casino gambling in Japan suffered another blow on Monday as proponents said they would delay a bill allowing "integrated resorts", as the ruling coalition remains divided on the controversial measure. Companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International have been hoping Japan will unlock a casino...

  • ATHENS/ BERLIN, March 30- Greece's biggest creditor Germany said on Monday that the euro zone would give Athens no further financial aid until it has a more detailed list of reforms and some are enacted into law, adding to scepticism over plans presented last week. A senior official in Brussels on Sunday had dismissed the list as "ideas" rather than a plan that Greece...

  • WASHINGTON, March 30- U.S. consumer spending barely rose in February as households boosted savings to their highest level in more than two years, the latest sign that economic growth slowed sharply in the first quarter. The Commerce Department said on Monday that consumer spending edged up 0.1 percent after an unrevised 0.2 percent drop in January.

  • March 30- Ireland's Horizon Pharma Plc struck a deal to buy U.S. drugmaker Hyperion Therapeutics Inc for about $1.1 billion to add to its line-up of drugs that treat rare diseases. Hyperion's shares were trading at $45.90 before the bell, while Horizon's were at $25.70. Ravicti and Buphenyl are expected to add $100 million to adjusted EBITDA in 2016 and result in...

  • March 30- Health insurer UnitedHealth Group agreed to buy Catamaran Corp in a deal worth about $12.8 billion to boost its pharmacy benefit business as it competes with bigger rivals such as Express Scripts Holdings Co.. As employers look to cut prescription costs on expensive drugs, the deal with Catamaran will give UnitedHealth's pharmacy benefits unit,...

  • March 30- Nutritional supplements maker GNC Holdings Inc said it had reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General, affirming its Herbal Plus products were in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration's guidelines. The company was one of four in February to remove these dietary supplements from their shelves in New York after they got...

  • FORTUNE BRANDS TO BUY CABINET MAKER NORCRAFT FOR $441.4 MLN@. March 30- Fortune Brands Home& Security will acquire bathroom and kitchen cabinet maker Norcraft Cos Inc for $441.4 million. Fortune, which makes MasterBrand cabinets and Moen faucets, will pay $25.50 per share, a premium of 11.4 percent to Norcraft's Friday closing price.

  • DUESSELDORF, Germany, March 30- Latecomers to the digital age, big German companies have started teaming up with start-ups to shake up their conservative business culture and keep pace with a world increasingly dominated by nimble tech giants. More than half of the firms on Germany's blue-chip DAX index trace their roots back to the 19th century or earlier.

  • CHICAGO, March 30- Amazon.com Inc is launching a home services marketplace that will connect customers with electricians, plumbers and painters in a move to have its services tied to every product sold on its website. "Third party estimates show that customers spend four times more on services each year than they do on physical products," Peter Faricy,...

  • March 30- BioDelivery Sciences International Inc said its pain drug failed to meet the main goal of a late-stage study, sending the drugmaker's shares down nearly 30 percent premarket. "Based on the results of our previously announced positive interim analysis, this outcome was unexpected," said Andrew Finn, BioDelivery's executive vice president of product...