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  • *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...

  • 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 earlier this week reflect mostly "transient" changes that do not...

  • March 20- Darden Restaurants Inc said on Friday it was looking at how to "create value" from its real estate, as management installed after last year's activist investor-led coup fights to turnaround its flagship Olive Garden business. Shares in Darden were up 3.6 percent at $67.21 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. During their standoff with...

  • WASHINGTON, March 20- Officials from the United States, Italy and Saudi Arabia led talks in Rome this week among a group of countries seeking to combat the financial activities of Islamic State militants, the U.S. ISIL is an acronym often used for the militants, who control swaths of Iraq and Syria. The CIFG includes Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark,...

  • ACCRA, March 20- Ghana has taken steps needed to address revenue shortfalls and consolidate debt, both critical measures in addressing the West African country's fiscal challenges, Finance Minister Seth Terkper said on Friday. In reaction to Moody's Ghana downgrade on Thursday, Terkper said the economy has strong medium term prospects and the government...

  • *Nike rises after results, outlook. March 20- U.S. stocks rose on Friday, lifted by results from Nike and another climb in biotechs, as investors assessed the impact of a stronger dollar on corporate profits. Nike jumped 4.5 percent to $102.77 as the biggest boost to the Dow after it posted a quarterly profit that beat market estimates.

  • CBS is sued over use of 'Hawaii Five-O' theme Friday, 20 Mar 2015 | 11:36 AM ET

    March 20- CBS Corp has been accused of copyright violations over its use of the "Hawaii Five-O" theme, one of the most recognizable TV show themes, in a lawsuit brought by the composer's children. In a complaint filed on Thursday, Lisa Stevens Brown and Mark Stevens said CBS has without permission incorporated their father Morton Stevens' up-tempo music in more than...

  • UPDATE 2-SAP sees 2015 profit windfall from weak euro Friday, 20 Mar 2015 | 11:32 AM ET

    FRANKFURT, March 20- SAP, Europe's largest software maker, said on Friday it expected the weak euro boost to operating profit growth by up to 14 percentage points, upping its forecast after the currency weakened further in recent weeks. A weak euro makes the German business software maker's products and services more competitive in markets outside Europe.

  • *Eskom's new power stations hit by delays. JOHANNESBURG, March 20- Eskom has replaced France's Alstom with Swiss firm ABB Ltd in a control and instrumentation contract for its much-delayed Kusile power station, the South African utility said on Friday. A spokesman said the change would not delay completion of the plant, which is scheduled to begin producing...

  • GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. stocks, oil jump as dollar weakens Friday, 20 Mar 2015 | 11:15 AM ET

    *Wall St stocks rally, helped by weaker U.S. dollar. *European stocks helped after Athens' assurances. NEW YORK, March 20- U.S. stocks and crude oil advanced on Friday, capping a week of big swings as the U.S. dollar fell, easing concerns about the impact of the currency's recent strength on economic growth.

  • ATHENS, Ga., March 20- The Federal Reserve is still coming to grips with how large insurance companies should be regulated to protect the financial system, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said on Friday. The U.S. central bank is studying whether some insurance companies offer products or engage in activities that pose a broader financial risk- similar to...

  • *Gold up 2 pct for the week after hitting four-month low. LONDON, March 20- Gold hit two-week highs on Friday and stayed on track for its biggest weekly jump since January, after the U.S. Gold prices hit a four-month low earlier this week, having come under pressure from expectations that the U.S. central bank is on track for its first interest rate increase in nearly a...

  • March 20- An experimental drug from Biogen Idec Inc became the first Alzheimer's treatment to significantly slow cognitive decline and reduce what is believed to be brain-destroying plaque in patients with early and mild forms of the disease, according to a small study likely to reignite hopes of a treatment. Biogen is entering a field littered with...

  • GHANA HAS STRONG STRONG MEDIUM TERM PROSPECTS AND GOVT WILL ENSURE THESE NOT DERAILED BY FISCAL SHOCKS- FIN MIN.

  • GHANA HAS ALREADY TAKEN STEPS NEEDED TO ADDRESS REVENUE SHORTFALLS, CONSOLIDATE DEBT- FIN MIN AFTER MOODYS DOWNGRADES GHANA RATING.

  • *Greece running out cash and creditors frustrated by delays. However, she signalled some flexibility on what reforms Athens would have to make, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker offered leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a sweetener by saying 2 billion euros from the European Union budget were available to ease the...

  • ISTANBUL, March 20- A study published in a Turkish central bank journal on Friday suggested the impact of a weak lira on inflation is less than previously thought, an argument that could help the bank justify further interest rate cuts. The study by two economists at Istanbul's Bahcesehir University said that the maximum pass-through effect on Turkish...

  • NEW YORK, March 20- Investors worldwide poured $20.1 billion into stock funds in the week ended March 18, marking the biggest weekly inflows into the funds year-to-date, data from a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research report showed on Friday. Stock exchange-traded funds attracted all of the new cash at $23 billion, while stock mutual funds posted $3...

  • FOREX-Dollar struggles anew on U.S. rate view Friday, 20 Mar 2015 | 10:51 AM ET

    *Euro on track for best week vs dollar since Oct 2011. NEW YORK, March 20- The dollar fell on Friday, on track for its worst weekly performance in more than two years against the euro, undermined by expectations U.S. interest rates will rise much slower than expected. "This is just some counter-trend correction in the dollar and is transitory," said Mark Luschini, chief...