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  • Next annual profit jumps 12.5 pct Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 | 3:15 AM ET

    LONDON, March 19- British clothing retailer Next met guidance with a 12.5 percent rise in year profit, powered by sales growth at both its stores and Directory internet business. The firm, which trades from over 500 stores in Britain and Ireland and almost 200 stores overseas, said on Thursday it made an underlying profit before tax of 782 million pounds in the year...

  • The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 0.2 percent, to 3,839.74, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent, to 3,582.27 points. Among the most active stocks in Shanghai were Bank of China, down 1.2 percent to 4.28 yuan; Hainan Airline, down 0.2 percent to 4.32 yuan and China State Construction, up 4.0 percent to...

  • JGBs soar, yields sink after Fed's dovish signal Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 | 3:10 AM ET

    TOKYO, March 19- Japanese government bonds soared on Thursday, sending yields on several notes to multi-week lows, after the U.S. In the superlong zone, the yield on the 20- year JGB fell 6 basis points to 1.070 percent after earlier touching 1.040 percent, its lowest since Feb. 3. Investors shrugged off news that three Japanese public pension funds with a combined...

  • SHANGHAI, March 19- China's yuan firmed sharply for the third straight day on Thursday, breaking through its 200- day moving average and recouping all of its losses for the year as corporate flight out of long-dollar positions intensified. The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.146 per dollar prior to market open, firmer than the previous fix of...

  • PORT VILA, March 19- The death toll from the devastating storm that pummelled Vanuatu last weekend will not rise significantly, the prime minister of the South Pacific island nation said on Thursday. "The important thing is that the people survived," Prime Minister Joe Natuman told Reuters in an interview in the capital Port Vila. With widespread destruction in...

  • TOKYO/ SYDNEY, March 19- The dollar steadied on Thursday, rising off lows hit overnight after the Federal Reserve struck a much more dovish than expected tone on interest rates. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who like most central bankers tends to avoid discussing currencies, told reporters the strong dollar is compressing inflation "at least on a transitory basis," which...

  • TOKYO, March 19- Japan's Nikkei benchmark dropped from 15- year highs on Thursday as investors took profits on recent gainers such as banking shares, which could suffer from a fall in Japanese bond yields. The yield on the benchmark 10- year Japanese government bond skidded to a six-week low after the U.S. Bucking the weakness, Nintendo Co extended its gains from...

  • *Singapore generates 95 pct of power from natural gas. SINGAPORE, March 19- Singapore is taking steps to reduce its almost total reliance on fossil fuels in power generation by offering commercial customers the city-state's first dual solar and conventional electricity contract. The relatively high electricity price and falling solar costs have helped...

  • --Clyde Russell is a Reuters columnist. LAUNCESTON, Australia, March 19- It's become conventional wisdom that the commodities boom is over, and while the era of rising prices is gone, figures from the Australian government suggest the surge in volumes is well under way. Australia is the world's top shipper of iron ore and metallurgical coal, number two in thermal...

  • PORT VILA, March 19- The death toll from the devastating storm that pummel Vanuatu last weekend will not rise significantly, the prime minister of the South Pacific island nation said on Thursday. "The important thing is that the people survived," Prime Minister Joe Natuman told Reuters in an interview in the capital Port Vila. "If the people survived, we can rebuild."

  • *Treasury yields down sharply, Australia yields at record low. SYDNEY, March 19- Asian shares enjoyed their best session in 18 months on Thursday as investors priced in a later start and a slower pace for future U.S rate rises, slashing sovereign bond yields from Japan to Australia. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 1.6 percent,...

  • CRUDE FALLS MORE THAN 2 PERCENT TO $43.66 A BARREL ON HIGHER THAN EXPECTED INVENTORY BUILD.

  • Support for Clinton's candidacy has dropped about 15 percentage points since mid February among Democrats, with as few as 45 percent saying they would support her in the last week, according to a Reuters/ Ipsos tracking poll. Clinton, who ran for the White House in 2008 and lost to Obama, is expected to announce as early as April that she plans to seek the White House...

  • Canadian oil sands woes reach far-flung eastern shores Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 | 1:00 AM ET

    Cape Breton is another example how the 60 percent slide in oil prices since last June has rippled far and wide, affecting property markets in Alberta and North Dakota, helicopter sales in Houston, the Canadian dollar and national interest rates. Many young workers head to Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, lured by big paychecks awaiting at oil sands projects...

  • The strategy usually involves buying stock in a Delaware- incorporated company that is being acquired and then filing a claim that gets a judge to determine the fair price for the shares in a process known as appraisal. But now the top corporate lawyers in Delaware, where about two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies are chartered, are proposing an amendment to the...

  • *U.S. crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma at record high. SINGAPORE, March 19- Brent crude futures fell towards $55 a barrel on Thursday after a bigger than expected crude stock build in the United States, though losses were limited by a weaker dollar as the Federal Reserve signalled a slower pace of interest rate hikes. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery...

  • SEOUL, March 19- South Korea will decide by the end of this month on whether it will join the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Finance Minister Choi Kyung- hwan said on Thursday. More than 20 countries including Germany, Britain and India have decided to participate in the bank, while South Korean officials have remained tight-lipped in recent...

  • MELBOURNE, March 19- London copper opened more than one percent higher on Thursday, up from a one-month low in the previous session, as a soft dollar absorbed fallout from a downgrade of the U.S. economy. A majority of Wall Street's top banks now see the Fed holding off until at least September before raising interest rates. "It's all about the U.S. dollar and it's...

  • *Hong Kong shares up after Fed's signal on rate hike. "China's stock market is liquidity-driven. Investors previously worried about China's economic health regained confidence after Premier Li Keqiang vowed on Sunday to support the economy and protect jobs.

  • HONG KONG, March 19- As offshore yuan bond yields in Hong Kong keep hitting highs, those on dim sum bonds issued by sovereigns and non-bank entities this month have surpassed their onshore counterparts for the first time. For government bonds, a 5- year yuan bond in Hong Kong was trading with a yield of 3.65/ 3.59 percent on Thursday, compared with 3.37/ 3.31 percent in...