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  • *Nike rises after results, outlook. March 20- U.S. stocks rose on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track to snap a three-week streak of losses, following upbeat results from Nike, further gains in biotechs and a pullback in the dollar. Among early reporters, Nike jumped 4.8 percent to $103.02 as the biggest boost to the Dow after it posted a quarterly profit that beat...

  • *Armed men raid state-owned oil company in Kiev. KIEV, March 20- A raid by a group of armed men in combat fatigues on a state-owned oil company in the Ukrainian capital Kiev caused uproar in parliament on Friday and thrust banking billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky into the spotlight. Kolomoisky, governor of the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region and one of Ukraine's...

  • PARIS, March 20- The flurry of technology deals luxury watchmakers announced this week to tackle the Apple Watch threat are more a way to hedge their bets in case the smartwatch market takes off than a strategic U-turn. On Thursday, LVMH's Tag Heuer and Bulgari, and Kering's Gucci were among the more than dozen or so watch brands that announced partnerships with...

  • March 20- The hedge fund firm run by activist investor William Ackman on Friday said a federal judge's recent dismissal of a shareholder lawsuit against Herbalife Ltd did not "exonerate or bless" the company's business practices. Pershing Square Capital Management LP, which in December 2012 revealed a $1 billion bet against the weight loss and nutritional...

  • LONDON, March 20- Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week, scheduled events, and the Reuters stories related to them. This in the second week of a 1 trillion euro bond-buying program from the European Central Bank. Other central banks, meanwhile, from Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden and Britain, are trying to...

  • S&P downgrades Nigeria to B+ Friday, 20 Mar 2015 | 1:50 PM ET

    LONDON, March 20- Credit agency Standard& Poor's downgraded Nigeria's rating to B+ from BB- on Friday, saying the decline in oil prices in the past seven months had significantly affected the country's finances. It also said that political risks were significant. Nigeria holds a presidential election on March 28 when Goodluck Jonathan will seek another term.

  • CALGARY, Alberta, March 20- Canada's top rodeo is feeling the impact of the global oil price plunge, with bids to sponsor one of the Calgary Stampede's main events down more than 20 percent from last year. The 103- year-old Stampede is a 10- day festival of rodeo, street parties and corporate entertainment held in Canada's oil capital every July.

  • *Wall St stocks rally; S&P set for weekly gain. *European stocks helped after Athens' assurances. NEW YORK, March 20- The U.S. dollar fell sharply on Friday and was on track for its biggest weekly decline against the euro in more than three years, helping to drive a rally in Wall Street stocks and crude oil.

  • *Pirelli shareholder Camfin says in talks with industrial partner. MILAN, March 20- China National Chemical Corp is close to becoming the biggest single shareholder in Pirelli in a deal that would trigger a 7 billion euro buyout of the Italian tyre company. Three sources familiar with the deal, which would be the latest in a string of Chinese investments in large...

  • *HSBC becomes first major FX player to raise euro targets. LONDON, March 20- If 25 countries cutting rates since the start of the year wasn't proof enough, this week's warning from Janet Yellen about the dollar's strength confirmed that the world's top central banks are fighting a currency war. From the ECB with its 1 trillion euro QE bazooka, China, India and Russia...

  • KIEV, March 20- Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan offered a $50 million loan to Ukraine and called for the rights of Crimean Tatars to be protected during a trip to Kiev on Friday, but avoided outright criticism of trade partner Russia. In a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Erdogan said Turkey was also offering $10 million in...

  • Lennar Corp, Toll Brothers Inc and KB Home, among the top six builders, together reported an average 19 percent increase in orders in the latest quarter, up from 3.3 percent in the same period last year. Lennar, the No.2 U.S. homebuilder after D.R. Horton Inc, said on Thursday it expected single-family housing starts and permits to rebound "shortly".

  • ATHENS, Ga., March 20- Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart said on Friday he expects the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates at either its June, July or September policy meetings, barring a significant downturn in the U.S. economy. The lower economic forecasts issued by the Fed this week reflect mostly "transient" issues that neither...

  • WARSAW, March 20- European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday it was increasingly difficult to maintain a united European Union position on sanctions imposed on Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis. European Union leaders agreed on Thursday that economic sanctions imposed on Russia will stay in place until a Ukraine peace deal is...

  • March 20- Delaying an interest-rate hike would not hamper the Federal Reserve's ability to keep inflation in check, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said on Friday.

  • BUCHAREST, March 20- Romania's prime minister will nominate himself to take over the finance ministry portfolio temporarily, three party sources said on Friday, after the previous minister became the most senior sitting politician to be investigated in a corruption crackdown. Victor Ponta would be taking over days before his government is set to approve...

  • U.S unveils new rules to for fracking on federal lands Friday, 20 Mar 2015 | 12:03 PM ET

    WASHINGTON, March 20- The U.S. Department of Interior said on Friday it finalized new rules to govern drilling on federal land using a process known as fracking, including new measures to protect groundwater. The rules, the culmination of a four-year process, will affect over 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally managed lands, 90 percent of which use the...

  • *Dollar down 1 pct vs euro after Merkel comments on Greece. Oil could gain further in the afternoon if U.S. oil rig count data from private firm Baker Hughes at 1 p.m. EDT shows another sharp decline, which may point to lower production in the future. "The Baker Hughes numbers could certainly be pivotal to afternoon trade, but for now, all eyes are on the dollar and the euro,...

  • NEW YORK, March 20- Linda Hudson, former CEO of the U.S. arm of British defense company BAE Systems Plc, is among the women that boards call on when they are looking for a female director. "You often don't get the enlightened thinking of reaching beyond the obvious candidates," said Hudson, who sits on the boards of Bank of America Corp and utility Southern Co., and is...