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  • WASHINGTON, Oct 31- The Obama administration on Thursday called on Congress to engage it on tax reform, saying plans currently considered by lawmakers "share much in common" with the White House's approach to the issue.

  • Drug-maker Valeant eyes small and large M&A deals Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 9:17 AM ET

    Oct 31- Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said on Thursday that it sees small, cash-based acquisitions likely in the near term, but is also interested in a "merger of equals" involving a swap of equity.

  • *European shares recover as data lifts ECB rate cut hopes. LONDON, Oct 31- Weak euro zone data that upped the pressure on the ECB to cut rates again helped European shares and bonds deflect concerns on Thursday that policy tightening remains on the U.S.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 31- With stock indexes at record highs, U.S. fund managers pared their total equity allocations to the lowest level since 2007 in October and raised cash holdings to the highest in almost a year, a Reuters poll found on Thursday.

  • Wal-Mart to announce three U.S. manufacturing projects Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 9:11 AM ET

    WASHINGTON, Oct 31- Giant retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc will announce "three new manufacturing commitments for U.S. made products" at a conference in Washington D.C. on Thursday, the company said. Bill Simon, Wal-Mart's U.S. president and CEO, will make the announcement with U.S.

  • Oct 31- Avon Products Inc posted weaker-than-expected quarterly results on Thursday, on another big sales drop in North America and weakness in growing markets like Mexico and Russia, stalling the beauty company's turnaround. Revenue fell 7 percent to $2.26 billion while Wall Street analysts expected $2.44 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 31- U.S. jobless claims declined last week in welcome news for the nation's battered labor market after the impact of a government shutdown on furloughed federal workers diminished. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 10,0000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

  • *2014 earnings forecast $3.10- $3.40/ share vs est. The Pentagon's spending fell by $37 billion in 2013 and is likely to fall further by about $52 billion in 2014.. Boeing Co reported a 5 percent fall in sales of its military aircraft in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, while sales at General Dynamics Corp's combat systems business fell 30 percent.

  • *Basel proposes standardised risk approach for all banks. *Basel to study impact of a capital "floor". Policymakers in Britain and the United States have said that Basel's current system of allowing the use of in-house models to assign weightings to risky assets to determine capital levels is too complicated and easily gamed.

  • LONDON, Oct 31- Global investors continued to buy into the euro zone economic recovery story in October, increasing their exposure to both the region's equities and bonds, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

  • UPDATE 1-MSCI says may split off proxy adviser ISS Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 9:00 AM ET

    *Unit accounts for more than 11 pct of MSCI's revenue. Oct 31- Stock market index provider MSCI Inc said on Thursday it was exploring strategic options for its influential proxy advisory unit, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc, that may lead to a separation of the business.

  • New York Times revenue rises on subscriptions Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 8:57 AM ET

    Oct 31- New York Times Co reported higher third-quarter revenue on Thursday after more readers paid for its flagship newspaper and its digital products. The company sold The Boston Globe and its sister newspaper this month for $70 million and now publishes only its namesake paper.

  • US STOCKS-Wall St set to open flat, near record levels Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 8:56 AM ET

    *Facebook rises in premarket, trading could be volatile. Optimism about earnings was boosted by Exxon Mobil Corp, one of the largest U.S. companies by market cap, which reported adjusted third-quarter earnings that beat expectations, sending shares 0.8 percent higher to $89.53 in premarket trading.

  • LONDON, Oct 31- Libya's government has ordered a 67 percent increase in pay for employees of the state oil sector, in an apparent effort to defuse three months of strikes and unrest that have reduced the country's crude oil exports to a trickle.

  • *Commercial Bank of Syria now seeking barter account with the bank. U.S. sanctions aimed at forcing Assad to end the violence in Syria's two-and-a-half-year civil war forbid its own banks from dealing with Syria's central bank and the Commercial Bank of Syria.

  • Germany rejects U.S. criticism of export reliance Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 8:44 AM ET

    The United States has long called for countries like China and Germany with trade surpluses to do more to spur imports but the Obama administration's reprimand in a semi-annual report to Congress on Wednesday stood out for its stark language. It said Germany was hampering economic stability in Europe and hurting the global economy.

  • Cigna, which provides U.S. and overseas health insurance as well as disability and life insurance, said it expected full-year earnings of $6.70 to $6.90 per share. The company said the results reflected continued medical cost management and a lower operating expense ratio that were partly offset by some pressure on its private Medicare plans for older people.

  • TORONTO, Oct 31- Canadian National Railway Co, the country's largest rail operator, agreed to a new labor contract for some 3,300 conductors, trainmen, yardmen and traffic coordinators represented by the Teamsters union, the railway said Thursday. The Grain Growers of Canada had asked the government to take "swift and decisive" action in the event of a strike.

  • *Expects $8.9 bln from asset sales in Kazakhstan, Algeria, Nigeria. Oct 31- ConocoPhillips expects about $8.9 billion in proceeds from the sale of assets in Kazakhstan, Algeria and Nigeria and reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit due to higher oil and gas prices.

  • *Britain acting alone, hopes others will follow its lead. LONDON, Oct 31- A new database of company ownership details, designed to expose international money laundering and tax evasion schemes, will be opened up to public scrutiny, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday.

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