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  • NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 18- A former Jefferies Group Inc investment banker "cheated, misled and defrauded" clients to boost profit in a $2 million scheme that took advantage of a federal program created in response to the 2008 financial crisis, federal prosecutors told jurors on Tuesday at the start of his criminal fraud trial.

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 18- Argentina on Tuesday filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a court order requiring it to pay $1.33 billion to bondholders who refused to take part in two debt restructurings from the country's 2002 default.

  • FOREX-Euro darts ahead, dollar dragged by asset flows Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 5:48 PM ET

    The euro was up at $1.3758 in Asian trade, having stretched as far as $1.3769 overnight, its highest in seven weeks and breaching a key resistance barrier at $1.3740. Alan Ruskin, global head of G10 currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York, noted that the net outflow from U.S. equities over 2013 has amounted to a huge $214 billion.

  • U.S. concerned about Japan domestic demand outlook Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 5:47 PM ET

    WASHINGTON, Feb 18- The United States expressed concern on Tuesday about whether domestic demand will remain a principal driver of Japan's economy. "Japan's economy has been largely driven by domestic demand over the last two years, but the outlook for domestic demand has clouded," U.S.

  • PANAMA CITY/ MADRID, Feb 18- The Panama Canal and a Spanish-led construction consortium expanding the major global waterway discussed options on Tuesday to keep the multibillion-dollar project afloat amid a dispute over costs, but any deal seemed unlikely ahead of a looming deadline.

  • Brent crude oil rose to its highest level this year as Libyan output fell yet again, rebels in South Sudan seized control of the capital in a key oil-producing state and protests in Venezuela showed renewed instability.

  • MEXICO CITY, Feb 18- Mexico's state-owned oil giant Pemex is looking for joint venture partners to tap mature onshore and offshore oil deposits and aims to keep the lion's share, but not all, of its explored deepwater fields, Chief Executive Officer Emilio Lozoya said Tuesday.

  • FACTBOX-Aluminium smelter cutbacks and closures Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 4:54 PM ET

    On Monday, Alcoa Inc said it will close its 50- year-old Point Henry aluminium smelter and two rolling mills in Australia after a two-year review. Russia's Rusal estimates that producers outside of China eliminated up to 1.2 million tonnes of capacity last year and further reductions of 1 million-1.5 million tonnes are expected in 2014..

  • U.S. tax season returns, and with it refund fraud Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 4:53 PM ET

    Someone in Florida had filed using his name and Social Security number, the IRS said. Some 1.6 million Americans were victims of ID theft tax refund crimes in the first half of 2013, up from 1.2 million in all of 2012, the IRS watchdog, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, said in a November report.

  • FACTBOX-U.S. producer prices report gets face lift Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 4:46 PM ET

    WASHINGTON, Feb 18- The U.S. Labor Department will on Wednesday publish a broadened producer inflation series that economists say will offer a better view of prices received by the nation's businesses.

  • "As a result, the new more comprehensive PPI will resemble the Consumer Price Index, but at the same time it will be its own alternative measure of economy-wide inflation," said Dana Peterson, an economist at Citigroup in New York. The Labor Department will release the January producer inflation report at 08:30 a.m..

  • Herbalife raises current-quarter profit forecast Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 4:42 PM ET

    Feb 18- Herbalife Ltd, the nutrition products company accused by investor William Ackman of being a pyramid scheme, raised its current-quarter adjusted profit forecast as demand for its weight-loss products held up.

  • *Forest Labs shares soar; Actavis agrees to buy company. NEW YORK, Feb 18- The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Tuesday, following Wall Street's biggest weekly gain of the year, as merger activity increased confidence that there is value in the stock market even as the benchmark index nears a record high.

  • NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 18- Former Wall Street investment banker Jesse Litvak "cheated, misled and defrauded" clients and lied to the government in a $2 million trading scheme after the 2008 financial crisis, federal prosecutors told jurors on Tuesday at the start of his criminal fraud trial.

  • TORONTO, Feb 18- BlackBerry Ltd Chief Executive John Chen fired a salvo at T-Mobile US Inc on Tuesday, calling ill-conceived a promotion run by the company that encourages customers using BlackBerry smartphones to upgrade to iPhones.

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 18- Raising the U.S. minimum wage would lead to the loss of about half a million jobs by late 2016 while lifting almost a million Americans out of poverty, the Congressional Budget Office forecast in a report on Tuesday that reignited debate over one of President Barack Obama's top priorities this year.

  • Obama made the announcement in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, about 20 miles from Washington, at a distribution center for Safeway grocery stores, next to a trucking rig that had been redesigned to increase fuel economy.

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 18- General Electric Co is suing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for a $658 million tax refund related to a tax loss the company claimed as it exited the reinsurance market more than a decade ago.

  • BOSTON, Feb 18- Hedge fund industry assets are expected to reach a record $3 trillion by year's end as investors plan to add fresh money, saying they were generally happy with last year's returns and don't expect bigger gains this year, a new survey shows.

  • *Underlying profit of $7.76 bln v $6.9 bln consensus. *Shares in Australia hit one-year high, outpace market. MELBOURNE, Feb 18- Global miner BHP Billiton topped market forecasts with a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday and hinted it may launch a share buyback in August, despite giving a cautious outlook on Chinese growth.