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  • Dec 17- Philips will acquire Volcano Corp, a U.S.-based medical device maker, for $1.2 billion including debt, to expand in the image-guided therapy market. Philips will offer $18 per share for Volcano, the companies said in a statement on Wednesday. The offer is at a premium of about 57 percent to Volcano's closing price on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

  • Federal Reserve's dovish stance helped sentiment recover, while Japan Tobacco Inc tumbled. Japan Tobacco, which is highly exposed to crisis-hit Russia, dived 7.8 percent on heavy volume and contributed a hefty negative 10 points to the Nikkei. Goldman Sachs said Russia contributes 20-25 percent of its operating profits, and a 1 percent rouble depreciation...

  • *OPEC unwilling to cut supply, spurring weakness. Non- OPEC member Russia, one of the world's top producers, has also indicated that it does not plan to cut output despite a glut in the world market. U.S. crude dropped $1.12 to $54.81 a barrel after touching the lowest since May 2009 at $53.60 on Tuesday.

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- For the first time in more than a decade, U.S. gasoline prices are tumbling toward $2 a gallon even as the economy grows and unemployment shrinks, a constellation that will test the theory that domestic fuel demand is in terminal decline. Conventional wisdom holds that long-term trends such as increased fuel efficiency, greater urbanization and a...

  • Investors in beat-up oil bonds lean on banks for rescue Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 1:00 AM ET

    BOSTON, Dec 17- Independent oil exploration and production companies are leaning heavily on bank credit lines to survive plunging crude prices, making it a nervous time for U.S. funds holding their junk-rated debt. 'said Francis Bradley III, a Greenberg Traurig attorney in Houston who specializes in energy company financing deals. " U.S. mutual funds hold an...

  • BEIJING, Dec 17- Chinese Internet giant Baidu Inc confirmed on Wednesday it is buying a stake in fast-growing international car-hailing service Uber as the pair chase growth in one of the world's largest transportation markets. The companies didn't disclose how big a stake Baidu is taking, nor how much it is paying for the investment, announced jointly in...

  • JGBs mostly flat, erase gains ahead of Fed meeting Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:42 AM ET

    TOKYO, Dec 17- Japanese government bond prices erased earlier gains to stay mostly flat on Wednesday as investors took profits ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting outcome. The 10- year JGB yield stood at 0.360 percent, up 0.5 basis point on the day after having fallen to 0.345 percent, its lowest level since April 2013.

  • China's yuan broadly steady on strong fixing Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:15 AM ET

    HONG KONG, Dec 17- China's yuan held steady against the dollar on Wednesday after the central bank set its daily midpoint at a fresh 10- month high, an encouraging sign of stability in the Chinese unit amid fears of fallout from a currency crisis in Russia. The People's Bank of China fixed the official midpoint at 6.1137 per dollar, its strongest level since Feb. 19...

  • LAUNCESTON, Australia, Dec 17- The big change in many commodity markets this past year was that demand is no longer king, with supply becoming the key driver, a dynamic that's likely to persist in 2015.. This has been especially the case with China, where concern over the slowing pace of economic growth has been used as an explanation for weaker commodity prices.

  • U.S. Architecture Billings Index falls in November Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:01 AM ET

    Dec 17- The Architecture Billings Index, an indicator of U.S. non-residential building activity, fell in November, the American Institute of Architects said on Wednesday. The index fell to 50.9 in November from 53.7 in October. Heading into next year, architecture firms are concerned with finding quality contractors for projects and coping with high costs of...

  • Beautycounter, a seller of skincare and cosmetics, was founded in Santa Monica in 2013 by Gregg Renfrew, the company's chief executive. Its products, including Beautycounter's popular glow sugar scrub, vibrant eye perfector and routine clean cream cleanser, are sold through independent consultants, e-commerce and partners like retail chain J. Crew and...

  • Telstra in talks with Pacnet for potential acquisition Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 11:52 PM ET

    SYDNEY, Dec 17- Australia's largest telecom services provider Telstra Corporation Ltd on Tuesday said it was in talks with the owners of Pacnet Ltd to buy the undersea cable operator. Earlier Bloomberg had reported, citing a source, that the two companies were nearing an agreement, in a deal that would give Telstra ownership of more than 46,000 kilometers of...

  • BEIJING, Dec 17- China stocks climbed higher on Wednesday as bank shares continued to surge on mainland markets, but Hong Kong's benchmark index slipped again and the price gap for dual-listed shares widened. The CSI 300 banking index was up 5.81 percent at the end of the morning, led by a 9.99 percent increase in Minsheng Bank and 8.75 percent increase for Bank of...

  • Dec 16- When the almost 11,000 financial advisers in Wells Fargo& Co's branch brokerage system get their 2015 compensation plan on Wednesday they may grimace at one change that could hit their pay, or cost their customers a little more. Morgan Stanley, the largest U.S. brokerage firm with more than 16,000 advisers, for example, does not credit brokers for purchases...

  • Dec 16- On Deck Capital Inc, an online small-business lender, said its initial public offering was priced at $20 per share, above the expected range of $16- $18. The New York- based company, which offers loans of up to $250,000, counts First Round Capital, Google Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Tiger Global Private Investment Partner and SAP Ventures among...

  • TOKYO, Dec 17- Japan's exports grew for a third straight month in November from a year earlier, but much more slowly than expected and despite a sharp fall in the yen, maintaining economic policy pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe days after his ruling coalition's big election win. Analysts say the slowdown followed a jump in October exports from one-off...

  • MANILA, Dec 17- The Asian Development Bank slightly trimmed its growth forecast for developing Asia for this year and next, but said sliding prices for oil should help economies in the region push through with growth reforms. In its update to the 2014 outlook, ADB said on Wednesday developing Asia was now expected to grow 6.1 percent this year, a tad below its 6.2...

  • *OPEC unwilling to cut supply, spurring weakness. Non- OPEC member Russia, one of the world's top producers, has also indicated that it does not plan to cut output despite a glut in the market. U.S. crude for January delivery dropped 97 cents to $54.96 a barrel after touching the lowest since May 2009 at $53.60 on Tuesday.

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 16- The United States confirmed steep import duties on solar products from China and Taiwan on Tuesday in a decision that may inflame trade tensions between the two countries. Producers in China face separate anti-subsidy duties. The move is set to deal a heavy blow to China and Taiwan's solar panel shipment to the U.S. market in the short term,...

  • *Honda CEO frustrated by Takata failure to explain defect. *Takata says Honda did not disclose any faults uncovered. Two senior Honda insiders, who asked not to be named, said the tests on 100-150 Takata air bags at Honda's quality centre near Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo, in the first half of this year indicated shortcomings in Takata's manufacturing quality and...