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  • NEW DELHI, March 20- India's parliament passed two bills on Friday to auction mines that produce minerals such as coal, iron ore and bauxite, in a boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bid to kickstart an industry that has languished for years. The Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation, and Coal Mines Special Provisions bills were seen as a test of the...

  • March 20- Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants Inc reported a quarterly profit above analysts' estimates due to cost-cutting and better-than-expected sales at its chains such as LongHorn Steakhouse and Yard House. Customer visits have been falling for more than a year at Olive Garden, which accounts for more than half of Darden's revenue.

  • MOSCOW, March 20- Russian businessman Filaret Galchev, who owns shares in Switzerland's Holcim via Eurocement Holding AG, declined to comment on Friday on the new terms of the firm's merger with France's Lafarge. Holcim and Lafarge have agreed new terms for their plan to create the world's biggest cement company, giving unhappy shareholders in the Swiss firm a...

  • TAIPEI/ TOKYO, March 20- Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co is considering joining efforts to help rescue Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp, the company said in a statement late on Friday. The world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, Hon Hai bought a 38 percent stake in a Sharp Corp TV panel plant in Sakai, Japan in 2012. It has been investing in...

  • March 20- Simon Property Group Inc, the largest U.S. shopping mall owner, raised its offer for smaller rival Macerich Co to $95.50 per share in cash and stock. Macerich rejected on Tuesday Simon Property's earlier offer of $91 per share and adopted a poison pill to prevent a hostile takeover. Simon Property said on Friday that the offer, which has an enterprise value...

  • New York- based Tiffany in January had cut its profit forecast for the year, saying the stronger dollar not only reduced the value of sales outside the United States, but also hurt sales to tourists in the country. Tourists spend more than $200 billion annually in the United States, but growth in 2015 is expected to decelerate as would-be visitors balk at the...

  • BEIJING, March 20- The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will be formally established by the end of 2015, China's finance minister said on Friday, adding that Beijing was communicating with the United States and Japan over its formation. The bank would complement rather than compete with other institutions, including the Asian Development...

  • *Europe equities enjoy $42 bln of inflows in past 10 weeks. Athens' benchmark ATG jumped 2.8 percent after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured European Union creditors at late-night crisis talks in Brussels that his coalition would soon present a full set of economic reforms in order to unlock cash to stave off bankruptcy. Bank of America-Merrill...

  • *Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan face economic challenges. ASTANA, March 20- President Vladimir Putin proposed on Friday creating a regional currency union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, Russia's partners in a political and economic union made up of former Soviet republics. The Russian rouble's decline has hit former Soviet trading partners such as Belarus and...

  • TOKYO/ SYDNEY, March 20- Australia said on Friday there was a lot of merit in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank while Japan's finance minister signaled cautious approval of the institution that the United States has warned against. Japan, Australia and the South Korea, all major U.S. allies, are the notable regional absentees from the AIIB.

  • LONDON, March 20- The iron ore market is turning ever more ugly. The price of ore for immediate delivery to China's Tianjin port is currently assessed by The Steel Index at $54.50 a tonne. "Peak steel" was penciled in for the next decade, an assessment that looks ever more questionable as China's steel producers reel from a toxic mix of slowing demand from the property...

  • US STOCKS-Wall St stock futures rise after pullback Friday, 20 Mar 2015 | 7:32 AM ET

    *Biogen Idec shares were up 3 percent at $447 in premarket trading after its experimental drug became the first Alzheimer's treatment to significantly slow cognitive decline and reduce brain plaque in patients with early and mild forms of the disease, according to a small study likely to reignite hopes of a treatment. *Tiffany& Co. shares were down 2.7 percent...

  • *Shanghai copper stocks fall 2,267 T, first drop in 2 months. LONDON, March 20- Copper prices climbed on Friday to a near three-week high after Chinese inventories fell for the first time in two months, a signal that demand in the top metals consumer is slowly recovering after a holiday. The consensus view from Asia was that if it was a gain of over 10,000 or 20,000...

  • Apigee's filing on Friday comes nearly two months after the successful listing of online storage company Box Inc and a day after Web-hosting company GoDaddy Inc's proposed IPO valued it at up to $2.87 billion. Apigee, whose customers include AT&T Inc, eBay Inc and Adobe Systems Inc, acquired predictive analytics company InsightsOne in January last year.

  • *Gold up 1 pct for the week after hitting 4- mth low. *Platinum still at around $50 discount to gold. LONDON, March 20- Gold edged back towards two-week highs on Friday, on track for its biggest weekly jump since January, after the U.S.

  • FRANKFURT, March 20- Germany's Merck KGaA will promote its deputy chief executive, Stefan Oschmann, to the top job next year to replace Karl-Ludwig Kley, Manager Magazin reported on Friday, citing company sources. Merck, which is also the world's largest maker of liquid crystals for flat-panel displays, is buying Sigma-Aldrich, putting it on track to become the...

  • Tiffany sales fall 1 percent on stronger dollar Friday, 20 Mar 2015 | 7:09 AM ET

    March 20- Upscale jeweler Tiffany& Co reported a 1 percent fall in quarterly sales, hurt by a stronger dollar and weak demand during the holiday shopping season. The company reported net income of $196.2 million, or $1.51 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with a loss of $103.6 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier. New York- based Tiffany's...

  • LONDON, March 20- The Bank of England said on Friday that it would apply new European Union insurance regulations "proportionately", following industry fears that the central bank might seek to add extra rules for companies based in Britain. The so-called Solvency II rules, which take effect in 2016, aim to ensure that insurers such as Britain's Prudential and...

  • SHANGHAI, March 20- Jaguar Land Rover Ltd on Friday said it is recalling nearly 36,500 Range Rover Evoque sport utility vehicles, after local media reported the British luxury carmaker used faulty gearboxes. Jaguar Land Rover earlier apologised for gearbox issues via its microblog after being criticised by state television on Sunday along with peers...

  • BERLIN, March 20- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will hold talks with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias in Berlin on Sunday, ahead of a meeting between the German chancellor and Greek prime minister on Monday, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said.