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  • Russian rouble strengthens below 60 roubles per dollar Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 5:07 AM ET

    MOSCOW, Feb 26- The Russian rouble strengthened below 60 roubles per dollar on Thursday for the first time since early January. At 1005 GMT the rouble had fallen back slightly to 60.07, still up 2 percent on the day. The rouble is being supported by a rebound in the oil price, with Brent continuing to rally on Thursday to around $62.5 per barrel.

  • BRUSSELS, Feb 26- Confidence in the euro zone's economy strengthened for the second straight month in February, but the improving morale in Italy, France and Spain was not shared in Germany, where there was less support for the ECB's money printing plan. The European Commission's economic sentiment indicator rose by 0.7 points to 102.1, the EU executive said on...

  • Hong Kong seeks to rival Singapore as corporate FX hub Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 4:56 AM ET

    HONG KONG, Feb 26- In a bid to rival Singapore, Hong Kong is introducing sweeping tax measures aimed at making it a more attractive centre in Asia for global corporations to trade foreign exchange. To counter that, Hong Kong will table a bill to remove hurdles that deter companies from locating their treasury functions in Hong Kong, Financial Secretary John Tsang...

  • *Raft of corporate earnings keep Europe flat. LONDON, Feb 26- German seven-year bond yields fell below zero for the first time ever on Thursday, as investors positioned themselves for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. Bets that a U.S. rate hike might come later than expected, triggered by comments by Fed...

  • *Q4 core profit 414 mln euros vs 400 mln expected. *Increases dividend 6.3 pct to 3.40 euros. BRUSSELS, Feb 26- Belgian chemicals group Solvay on Thursday said it would pay out more to its shareholders after its core profit for the fourth quarter beat expectations, as the group was able to raise its prices faster than raw material costs increased.

  • *RBS to cut investment bank assets by over 60 pct. *Howard Davies confirmed as chairman. LONDON, Feb 26- Royal Bank of Scotland will drastically shrink its investment banking operations, pulling out of 25 countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East and allowing the state-controlled lender to refocus on local lending in Britain.

  • HONG KONG, Feb 26- Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka- shing on Thursday said he is upbeat on the outlook for the China- controlled city, and that the biggest threat is if a Hong Kong government proposal on universal suffrage fails to get passed. Li, 86, speaking at an earnings briefing for his companies Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, also said he has no...

  • LONDON, Feb 26- Standard Chartered said former JPMorgan investment bank boss Bill Winters will take over as chief executive in June to replace Peter Sands, after investors demanded change at the helm following two years of problems. Asia- focused bank Standard Chartered said on Thursday Chairman John Peace will also leave next year, and named other changes to...

  • *Cheung Kong net HK $54 bln vs HK $37 bln analyst view. Li has been selling assets and increasing the pace of overseas acquisitions- particularly infrastructure, telecoms and retail businesses in Europe- sparking speculation that he is withdrawing from Hong Kong and mainland China, a claim he has consistently denied. Li's family sold more than $2 billion worth of...

  • FOREX-Aussie up, kiwi down in becalmed FX markets Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 4:05 AM ET

    *New Zealand shows surprise trade surplus. LONDON, Feb 26- The Australian and New Zealand dollars were the main movers among major currencies on Thursday, pushed in opposite directions by contrasting signals on the health of two struggling economies. Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen have done little to move on the debate over when U.S. interest rates will rise,...

  • *GM to stop car manufacturing in Indonesia. BEIJING, Feb 26- General Motors is to stop making cars in Indonesia, a battleground for global automakers in emerging Southeast Asia, closing an assembly plant, axing some 500 jobs and shifting its branding focus to sport utility vehicles. GM tried to take on Japanese rivals by locally producing its Chevrolet Spin, a...

  • LONDON, Feb 26- Anglo Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier plans to rename itself RELX and simplify its structure into one unit to make it more transparent for investors in the latest stage of its transformation. Analysts at Citi also said the alignment of the shareholder structure- maintaining a dual listing but combining all its assets into a single new group entity...

  • BERLIN, Feb 26- Germany's jobless rate remained at a record low of 6.5 percent for a third straight month in February, data showed on Thursday, boosting expectations that private consumption will help drive growth in Europe's largest economy this year. That was in line with the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll and remains the lowest since German...

  • Ukraine currency in limbo after central bank u-turn Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 3:56 AM ET

    Ukraine came under greater economic pressure after unexpectedly banning most currency trading and then abruptly reversing course.

  • TOKYO, Feb 26- Foreign investors bought 1.13 trillion yen of Japanese cash shares and futures last week, their largest net buying in more than three months, helping to drive Japanese stock prices to 15- year highs. They bought 153.8 billion yen of cash stocks, data from the Tokyo Stock Exchange showed, and also bought 978.8 billion yen of Japanese stock futures,...

  • NEW DELHI, Feb 26- India will increase investment in its overloaded railway network to 8.5 trillion rupees over the next five years, the government said on Thursday, promising to modernise existing tracks but shying away from raising fares to fund the expansion. Presenting the railway budget just two days before the government delivers its first full annual...

  • MILAN, Feb 26- United States- based medical device maker Cyberonics Inc has agreed to buy Sorin SpA in an all-stock deal that the Italian company said values it at about $1.4 billion. Cyberonics will hold a 54 percent stake in the new company and Sorin the rest. Cyberonics shareholders will receive one share of the new company for every share held, while Sorin...

  • MOSCOW, Feb 26- Russian Internet group Mail.ru said on Thursday the sale of its recruitment site might not be completed after the company saw an economic downturn constrain ad spending. As such we do not anticipate any near or medium term improvement in the display revenues, or in the Headhunter business, " Mail.ru said. Mail.ru, majority-owned by Russia's richest...

  • *Sees better industry volumes in U.S., Mexico, China. LEUVEN, Belgium, Feb 26- Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, announced a sharply higher dividend and a $1- billion share buyback on Thursday, promising increased investor returns in years ahead. The cash-rich, Belgium- based company proposed a total dividend of 3.00 euros for 2014, a jump from 2.05...

  • German 7-yr bond yields fall below zero as QE nears Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 3:39 AM ET

    *Italy yields fall ahead of debt sale. LONDON, Feb 26- German borrowing costs out to seven years fell below zero for the first time and Italian yields dipped ahead of an auction on Thursday in further signs of frantic investor demand for euro zone government debt. Germany and Portugal sold debt at new record lows, in five- and 10- year sales respectively on Wednesday,...