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  • SHANGHAI, Feb 18- China's Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd and PSA Peugeot Citroen will sign a memorandum of understanding on a capital tie-up between the two carmakers later on Tuesday, a Dongfeng source told Reuters.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 18- U.S. crude futures held above $100 on Tuesday, buoyed by a weaker dollar and as frigid weather across North America lifted heating demand. A positive outcome would be negative for oil as sanctions on Tehran would ease, allowing the OPEC producer to export more crude and add to global supply.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 18- Gold drifted slightly lower on Tuesday after scaling fresh 3-1/ 2 month highs early in the session, as safe-haven bids continued to support the metal amid a weaker U.S. dollar and concerns over economic growth. Silver rose for a fourth session and was trading near its highest since early November.

  • *Alcoa to close Australia Point Henry aluminium smelter. *Will bring total Alcoa capacity cuts to 551,000 tonnes. SYDNEY, Feb 18- Aluminium producer Alcoa Inc said it will close its Point Henry smelter and two rolling mills in Australia, underscoring the dire market conditions facing producers amid a flood of new Chinese capacity.

  • CARACAS, Feb 17- Venezuelan security forces raided the headquarters of an opposition party accused of fomenting nearly a week of violent protests, witnesses said, as the country expelled three U.S. diplomats on charges of conspiring with demonstrators.

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- The yen inched down against its major counterparts in early trade on Tuesday, as investors waited to see if the Bank of Japan would hold policy steady as expected and perhaps hint at the possibility of further easing ahead.

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- A string of disappointing U.S. data pinned the dollar near six-week lows against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, while Asian share markets held steady after notching up solid gains in recent sessions.

  • DIARY - Top economic Events to Mar 04 Monday, 17 Feb 2014 | 7:01 PM ET

    BRUSSELS- Meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council. CASCAIS, Portugal- ECB Executive Board member Peter Praet participates in a panel discussion on "Fixing finance" in Cascais- 1020 GMT. TOKYO- Bundesbank board member Andreas Dombret speaks in Tokyo on "The German economy and the euro zone"- 0300 GMT.

  • VIENNA, Feb 18- The United States and long-time arch-foe Iran agree on at least one thing ahead of Tuesday's negotiations on a long-term nuclear deal- reaching an agreement will be very difficult, if not impossible.

  • BHP Billiton boosts profit, paves way for buyback Monday, 17 Feb 2014 | 6:13 PM ET

    BHP Billiton reported a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday and signaled it would consider a dividend hike in August.

  • Alcoa to close Point Henry smelter in Australia Monday, 17 Feb 2014 | 5:51 PM ET

    Feb 17- Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc said it will permanently close its Point Henry smelter and two rolling mills in Australia, after a two-year review found that the smelter had "no prospect of becoming financially viable."

  • PARIS, Feb 17- France published a decree on Monday to prevent the planting of genetically modified maize as a stopgap measure, while the government works on changes to domestic and European laws to ensure a longer-term ban. Annual sowing of maize in France gets under way in the second half of March.

  • MELBOURNE, Feb 18- BHP Billiton reported a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday and signalled it would consider a dividend hike in August, as it cuts debt towards levels that may prompt a share buyback.

  • Feb 17- Former AIG boss Maurice "Hank" Greenberg's Starr Investment Holdings LLC said on Monday it had agreed to take over health insurance claims processor MultiPlan Inc in what is by far its biggest private equity investment to date. Since its launch in 2012, all of Starr Investment Holdings' previous private equity deals have been below $1 billion.

  • MELBOURNE, Feb 18- BHP Billiton reported a 31 percent rise in first-half underlying profit on Tuesday, well above market forecasts, bolstered by aggressive cost cutting and volume growth. Underlying attributable profit rose to $7.76 billion for the six months to December, up from $5.94 billion a year earlier.

  • CARACAS, Feb 17- Venezuela ordered out three U.S. diplomats on Monday, accusing them of recruiting students to lead protests that were the OPEC nation's most serious violence since President Nicolas Maduro's April election and in which three people were killed.

  • Obama had been in office only a month when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion stimulus that Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives passed over the objections of Republicans.

  • BANGKOK, Feb 18- Any comfort investors in Thailand draw from what happened four years ago, when economic growth, the stock market and foreign investment all surged despite deadly unrest in Bangkok, may be sorely misplaced.

  • *Weak spending raises questions about economic outlook. TOKYO, Feb 18- Japanese consumers ended last year with a whimper instead of the bang many had expected, reinforcing a nagging worry that the prime minister's aggressive policies are struggling to find support among those key to its success.

  • *Governor Kuroda to brief media at 0630 GMT. TOKYO, Feb 18- The Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary policy steady on Tuesday and maintain its upbeat view on the economy, unfazed by recent signs of slower growth and suggesting that any additional stimulus will be some time away.