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  • Feb 18- Generic drugmaker Actavis Plc said on Tuesday it would buy Forest Laboratories Inc for about $25 billion in cash and stock, expanding its portfolio of specialty pharmaceuticals for neurological and other disorders. Actavis said it would pay the equivalent of $89.48 per share, representing a premium of 25 percent to Forest's closing price on Friday.

  • LONDON, Feb 18- Oil rose towards $110 a barrel to its highest in almost seven weeks on Tuesday, supported by robust demand for heating fuel in top consumer the United States, a weaker dollar and supply disruptions in Libya. Brent crude was up 54 cents at $109.72 by 1411 GMT and traded up to $109.89, its highest since Jan. 2.

  • Feb 18- Institutional investors are buying up U.S. farmland at a rapid rate, and their influence is starting to shift the types of crops grown and the way the land is managed, according to a report issued Tuesday.

  • Foreign demand for U.S. assets falls in Dec-Treasury Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 8:50 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Feb 18- Foreigners sold $45.9 billion in long-term U.S. assets in December, compared with outflows of $28.05 billion the previous month, data from the U.S.

  • SOURCE AT RUSSIA'S GAZPROM SAYS UKRAINE'S NAFTOGAZ REPAID AROUND HALF OF ITS GAS DEBT.

  • UPDATE 1-Coca-Cola reports weaker-than-expected sales Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 8:48 AM ET

    Feb 18- Coca-Cola Co's global sales volumes rose less than it expected in the fourth quarter and fell in North America, sending its shares down almost 2 percent in premarket trading. Coke, like rival PepsiCo Inc, has been battling declining soda sales in developed markets, especially the United States.

  • *Nordea, Goldman Sachs and UBS will be joint global coordinators. Funds managed by Swedish private equity firm EQT and by Goldman Sachs bought ISS for 22.1 billion Danish crowns and delisted it from the Copenhagen bourse in 2005..

  • NEW YORK, Feb 18- U.S. stock index futures turned negative on Tuesday after data showed manufacturing activity in New York state slowed in February. S&P 500 e-mini futures shed 0.25 point and were slightly below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

  • LONDON, Feb 18- Poundland, Europe's largest single-price discount retailer, plans a 750 million pound flotation on the London Stock Exchange, cashing in on the recession-proof allure of goods that sell for just one pound.

  • CARACAS, Feb 18- A student protester died in east Venezuela after being hit by a vehicle, the fourth fatality from political unrest over the past week, residents and opposition activists said on Tuesday. That added to three fatal shootings last week during rival rallies in Caracas.

  • *Switzerland has 3 years to implement immigration curbs. BERLIN, Feb 18- German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Tuesday against rushing to retaliate against Switzerland for its vote to curb immigration, saying Europe's own interests were best served by waiting to see how the Swiss implement the referendum result.

  • *China's central bank drains $7.9 bln from the market. *Alcoa to shut Port Henry aluminium smelter in Australia. LONDON, Feb 18- Copper was steady on Tuesday after a move by China's central bank to drain funds from the market offset a stronger euro versus the dollar.

  • *Adverse weather hitting Brazil, Argentina output. *Wheat gains for 3rd day to test $6 mark, corn also up. PARIS/ SINGAPORE, Feb 18- U.S. soybean futures rose on Tuesday to approach a five-month high, supported by concerns that adverse weather was reducing harvest prospects in Brazil and Argentina.

  • *Forest Labs surges after Actavis confirms acquisition. *Shares of Forest Laboratories Inc rocketed more than 35 percent in premarket trading after Actavis said it would acquire the specialty pharmaceuticals company in a massive cash and stock deal valued at about $25 billion.

  • *Heavy restocking seen in China, some gold scrap seen. LONDON, Feb 18- Net gold demand fell 15 percent in 2013 as huge outflows from physically backed investment funds outweighed record consumer demand but that disinvestment is tailing off this year, the World Gold Council said on Tuesday.

  • Feb 18- Medtronic Inc on Tuesday reported lower quarterly net earnings due to charges for the failed clinical study of a treatment being developed for high blood pressure. Excluding the charges and other one-time items, Medtronic earned 91 cents a share, in line with the analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

  • *Sees 2014 adjusted EPS of $4.45- $4.60 vs est $4.32. *4th- quarter EPS 97 cents vs 62 cents last year. The fourth quarter was also helped by cost savings from Duke's $18- billion buyout of rival Progress Energy in July 2012, which created the largest U.S. power company with a market value of about $50 billion.

  • *Turkey's main interest rates on hold as expected. ISTANBUL, Feb 18- Turkey's central bank kept interest rates on hold on Tuesday after hiking them sharply last month to help stabilise the lira, shying away from further tightening for fear of hitting growth ahead of elections next month.

  • LONDON, Feb 18- South Africa's Standard Bank, now selling a controlling stake in its markets unit to China's ICBC, is emerging as a frontrunner to buy Deutsche Bank's place in the global gold price-setting process, sources familiar with the matter said. Market sources said Standard Bank, in conjunction with ICBC, is in prime position to buy the Deutsche seat.

  • CARACAS, Feb 18- A student protester died in eastern Venezuela after being hit by a vehicle in the fourth fatality from political unrest over the past week, residents and opposition activists said on Tuesday.