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  • UPDATE 2-Rouble stable, but S&P downgrade warning weighs Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 8:42 AM ET

    MOSCOW, Dec 24- Russia's rouble stabilised on Wednesday, as exporters selling foreign currency countered the effect of a ratings agency saying it could downgrade Russia's sovereign debt to' junk' status as soon as next month. Late on Tuesday, Standard and Poor's revised Russia's credit ratings to creditwatch negative from negative, warning a deterioration in...

  • *Eases geographical curbs on yuan bond issuance. BEIJING, Dec 24- China will simplify currency rules and step up credit support for firms investing overseas, the cabinet said on Wednesday. Increased outbound investment helps China to export surplus capacity and makes Chinese products, especially equipment products, more competitive internationally, the...

  • LONDON, Dec 24- Brent oil fell on Wednesday, trading around $60 per barrel weighed down by strong supply in the United States and a rising dollar. Brent for February delivery was down $1.50 to $60.19 at 1327 GMT after gaining $1.58 on Tuesday. In Europe, gasoline stocks reached their highest in five months in the Amsterdam- Rotterdam- Antwerp oil hub, data from PJK...

  • U.S. jobless claims fall for fourth straight week Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 8:30 AM ET

    WASHINGTON, Dec 24- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, underscoring the economy's enduring strength. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 280,000 for the week ended Dec. 20, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. A Labor Department analyst said...

  • Actavis, Adamas win FDA approval for Alzheimer's drug Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 8:20 AM ET

    Dec 24- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug to treat dementia in Alzheimer's patients that was developed by Actavis Plc and Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc.. The drug, Namzaric, is designed to treat moderate-to-severe dementia in Alzheimer's patients who are stabilized with other drugs. Namzaric combines two ingredients in drugs often...

  • UPDATE 2-Russia's grain exports stop - farm lobby Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:59 AM ET

    *About 3 mln T of grain are now stuck in Russia- Union. *Wheat futures rise on Russia export curbs. Russia's main wheat buyers are Turkey, Iran and, very vulnerable to supply disruption, Egypt.

  • CAIRO, Dec 24- UAE's Abraaj Investment Management is seeking regulatory approval to raise its bid for Egypt's Bisco Misr to 88.09 Egyptian pounds a share, aiming to top a rival bid by Kellogg Co. as the deadline for the takeover of the snackmaker loomed. Abraaj said in a statement on Wednesday it had submitted a request valuing Bisco Misr at 1.013 billion pounds to...

  • JERUSALEM, Dec 24- The group that controls two large gas fields off Israel's shores could seek international arbitration to defend its assets, it said on Wednesday, a day after an Israeli regulator raised the prospect of it being stripped of some of its holdings. Gideon Tadmor, chairman of Delek Drilling and CEO of Avner Oil, said the consortium-- which also includes...

  • *Equity markets close at 1 p.m. in holiday-shortened session. NEW YORK, Dec 24- U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday, after a five-day winning streak pushed the Dow and S&P 500 to new closing records and ahead of data on the labor market. *Equity markets will operate on a shortened trading schedule Wednesday, closing at 1 p.m. ahead of the Christmas...

  • China unveils fresh support for outbound investment Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:20 AM ET

    BEIJING, Dec 24- China will simplify currency rules and step up credit support for firms investing overseas, the cabinet said on Wednesday,. Increased outbound investment helps China export surplus capacity and makes Chinese products, especially equipment products, more competitive internationally, the cabinet said. China's outbound investment by...

  • FOREX-Dollar holds near highest in almost 9 years Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:19 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 24- The dollar held near its highest point in almost nine years against a basket of currencies on Wednesday after investors brought forward forecasts for when U.S. interest rates will rise. That was the strongest sign yet that growth has shifted into higher gear and it pushed the dollar index to highs not seen since March 2006, while the two-year yield...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 24- The proposed merger of Sysco Corp and US Foods Inc hinges on the top two U.S. food companies helping to turn a far smaller rival into a national player to ease antitrust concerns, but the gap may be too big, analysts said. Sysco and US Foods, the only two companies with national distribution to hospitals, restaurants and schools, have been discussing...

  • French jobless ticks up to new record in November Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 6:00 AM ET

    PARIS, Dec 24- More people were unemployed in France in November than ever before, data showed on Wednesday, highlighting continued weak activity in the euro zone's second-largest economy. The Labour Ministry said the jobless total in mainland France rose by 27,400 to 3,488,300, a 0.8 percent increase over one month and 5.8 percent over one year.

  • LONDON, Dec 24- Copper steadied on Wednesday in thin pre-Christmas trade as a brightening U.S. economic picture was balanced by caution over the strong dollar, weak oil prices and dimming demand prospects in top consumer China. Copper hit its lowest in 4-1/ 2 years earlier this month as oil prices crashed and concerns persisted that a supply surplus will hit the...

  • LONDON, Dec 24- Gold rose on Wednesday as the dollar eased, but was still trading close to a three-week low as strong U.S. economic growth boosted equities, spurring markets to bring forward the timing of a possible hike in U.S. interest rates. Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,178.80 an ounce by 1020 GMT, but remained within reach of a three-week low of $1,170.17 hit on...

  • LONDON, Dec 24- The rouble slipped on Wednesday after ratings agency Standard& Poor's warned it could downgrade Russia in the new year, while robust U.S. growth data boosted bets on the Federal Reserve raising rates soon, subduing broader emerging markets. The rouble dropped 0.2 percent against the dollar in the wake of S&P warning that Russia's sovereign rating...

  • LONDON, Dec 24- Brent oil fell below $61 per barrel on Wednesday, weighed down by strong supply in the United States and a rising dollar. Brent for February delivery dropped $1.02 to $60.67 by 0959 GMT after settling up $1.58 on Tuesday. A supply glut in the United States and elsewhere has helped push oil down some 46 percent since it reached this year's peak above...

  • *Rouble dips after S&P puts Russia on junk downgrade warning. LONDON, Dec 24- The strongest growth for the world's largest economy in over a decade meant there was plenty of pre-Christmas cheer in global markets on Wednesday, as stocks continued their strong run and the dollar hovered at an 8-1/ 2 year high. The data drove both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 benchmark...

  • UPDATE 1-Russia may fail to supply wheat to Egypt in Jan Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 4:49 AM ET

    MOSCOW, Dec 24- Russia may fail to supply wheat to Egypt's state buyer GASC in January as its exports have been effectively suspended by informal government curbs, Arkady Zlochevsky, the head of Russia's Grain Union, said on Wednesday. Russia's government imposed informal curbs with tougher quality monitoring and limits on railroad loadings earlier this...

  • TOKYO, Dec 24- Takata Corp, the auto supplier embroiled in a global safety crisis, said Wednesday its president, Stefan Stocker, would step down and its chairman would assume the role to unify the company's response to the recall of millions of vehicles carrying defective air bags. Stocker, a Swiss national, joined Takata from privately-held supplier Robert Bosch...