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  • BUDAPEST, March 31- Hungarian drug maker Gedeon Richter and its partner Forest Laboratoriess announced positive top-line results from a Phase IIb trial of antipsychotic drug Cariprazine in patients with bipolar depression, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

  • SINGAPORE/ TOKYO, March 31- Iran's top four crude oil buyers lifted their purchases 17.2 percent in February from a year ago, as the OPEC member continues to ship more oil than allowed under a deal that eases some of the sanctions aimed at its disputed nuclear programme.

  • PARIS, March 31- France cut its public sector deficit less quickly than planned last year, missing the government's target, official figures showed on Monday in a new setback for President Francois Hollande.

  • TOKYO, March 31- Shinzo Abe has already ensured himself a place in Japan's history books with his comeback as prime minister five years after a brief, troubled first term.

  • *Rongsheng posts 2013 net loss of $1.4 billion. *Ship orders were worth $726 mln vs target of $1.8 bln. HONG KONG, March 31- China's biggest private shipbuilder, China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group, posted a second straight annual loss as new orders were less than half its target, and is in talks with banks about loan repayments.

  • SHENZHEN, March 31- China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd "maintained calm" and operated "business as usual" after media reports saying the U.S. accessed servers at the telecom giant's Shenzhen headquarters, acting Chief Executive Eric Xu said on Monday.

  • BEIJING, March 31- Hong Kong shares edged up on Monday as a selloff in energy and manufacturing heavyweights on disappointing earnings was offset by strength in gaming stocks before the release of monthly Macau gambling revenue figures.

  • *Hopes of China stimulus keeping risk demand buoyant. SYDNEY/ SINGAPORE, March 31- The yen struggled to gain traction versus the dollar and touched a fresh six-year low against the New Zealand dollar on Monday as demand for the safe-haven currency waned amid hopes of more stimulus from China.

  • WASHINGTON, March 31- The U.S. Supreme Court will on Monday delve into the hotly contested question of when software is eligible for patent protection. Google Inc, Dell Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, Microsoft Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and engine manufacturer Cummins Inc, are among the companies that have filed legal papers weighing in on the issue.

  • SHANGHAI, March 31- Chinese fund managers increased their suggested equity allocation for the next three months, after recommendations hit a 10- month low in February, although sentiment remains lukewarm as concerns about China's economy grow, according to a Reuters poll.

  • *C.bank may let yuan depreciate to 6.25/ dollar- traders. SHANGHAI, March 31- China's yuan eased against the dollar on Monday after the central bank fixed its official mid-point at a six-month low for the second straight trading day, putting it on course for its second-biggest monthly loss on record.

  • TOKYO, March 31- Japan's factory output unexpectedly fell in February at the fastest pace in eight months, leaving the economy in a precarious position as an impending sales tax hike threatens to choke consumption and undermine the government's revival plan.

  • *Iraq starts production at giant West Qurna-2 field. SINGAPORE, March 31- Brent crude traded near a two-week high at above $107 a barrel on Monday as simmering tensions between Russia and the West offset a rise in oil supply from OPEC's second-largest producer Iraq.

  • SANTIAGO, March 31- A wide-ranging tax reform bill that aims to raise over $8 billion over four years will take its first step towards becoming law when it is sent to Chile's Congress on Monday, despite worries from some that it may worsen an already cooling investment climate.

  • BEIJING, March 31- China's foreign exchange regulator said on Monday that it does not see any risk in the country's relatively high ratio of short-term foreign debt to total foreign debt, noting that the country had a large pile of foreign reserves to fall back on.

  • *Wheat headed for best month, quarter since 2012. Soybeans were little changed, holding near recent highs amid analyst forecasts that U.S. stocks of the oilseed would be the smallest in a decade when the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its quarterly grain inventory and spring plantings reports at 1600 GMT.

  • JGBs slip slightly in thin fiscal year-end trade Sunday, 30 Mar 2014 | 10:44 PM ET

    TOKYO, March 31- JGB prices ended the Monday morning session slightly lower as shares rose, though trading volume was limited as domestic financial institutions have to close their books today for the fiscal year.

  • NEW YORK, March 30- The U.S. stock market is rigged in favor of high-speed electronic trading firms, which use their advantages to extract billions from investors, according to Michael Lewis, author of a new book on the topic, "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt."

  • *Iraq starts production at giant West Qurna-2 field. SINGAPORE, March 31- Brent crude traded near a two-week high at above $107 a barrel on Monday as simmering tensions between Russia and the West offset a rise in oil supply from OPEC's second largest producer Iraq.

  • *China stimulus hopes, upbeat U.S. data support. TOKYO, March 31- Japanese shares climbed 1 percent to a 2-1/ 2- week high on Monday morning on growing hopes China would offer stimulus measures to bolster its sagging economy, with exporters leading the way on a softer yen.