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  • NEW YORK, Feb 20- U.S. stocks briefly extended declines after data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region contracted in February.

  • Violence escalates in divided Venezuela Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 10:02 AM ET

    CARACAS, Feb 20- Security forces faced off with demonstrators in streets blocked by burning barricades in several Venezuelan cities on Thursday in an escalation of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government, witnesses said.

  • Feb 20- TransCanada Corp said on Thursday it is considering how to proceed with its Keystone XL pipeline, a day after a court voided the Nebraska governor's decision to allow the controversial line to pass through the Midwestern state.

  • HOUSTON, Feb 20- BNSF Railway Co plans to buy its own fleet of up to 5,000 new crude oil tank cars with safety features that exceed the latest standards adopted by the industry more than two years ago, the unit of investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc said on Thursday.

  • RPT-Coach blast knocks back Egypt's tourism recovery Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 9:54 AM ET

    *Red Sea resorts quiet but some cancellations coming in. By killing two holidaymakers near one of Egypt's biggest sea-and-sun resorts, the Islamist militants behind the attack have undermined Egyptian official assurances that foreigners face no threat from the turmoil that has shaken the country since the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011..

  • Emerging market storm boon for euro zone's periphery Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 9:53 AM ET

    Escalating violence in Ukraine and the suspension of Nigeria's central bank governor hit emerging market assets on Thursday, even as Spain, once seen as the focus of the euro zone debt crisis, saw its long-term borrowing costs tumble to their lowest since 2008..

  • US STOCKS SNAPSHOT-Wall St edges higher on Markit PMI Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 9:35 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Feb 20- U.S. stocks rose modestly at the open after an industry report showed U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated in February at its fastest pace in nearly four years, countering an earlier report that showed a drop in China's factory activity.

  • BlackBerry shares were up as much as 9 percent in trading after the bell on Wednesday as the deal boosts valuation metrics around the company's own BlackBerry Messaging service.

  • Feb 20- DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite TV company, reported fourth-quarter results above analysts' estimates as it made more from each subscriber in the United States, and the company authorized a $3.5 billion share repurchase program. DirecTV's shares rose 1.8 percent in premarket trading.

  • At its annual Agricultural Outlook conference, the USDA said expansion in the U.S. red meat sector would remain slow due to the decline in cattle inventory. The USDA projected that U.S. steer prices would rise 8 percent in fiscal 2014 to a record $136 per hundredweight, while hog prices would fall 2 percent.

  • *Spain likely to help Sacyr get backing for loans.

  • *Q4 adj loss $0.55/ share vs estimate $0.84/ share. Feb 20- Coal miner Walter Energy Inc reported a smaller-than-expected adjusted quarterly loss as costs to produce steel-making coal, the company's main product, declined.

  • Feb 20- Wal-Mart Stores Inc forecast a lower full-year profit than analysts expect, as fewer food stamps, higher taxes and tighter credit erode its sales, news that sent its shares down 1 percent in premarket trading on Thursday.

  • *Jobless claims fall 3,000 in February payrolls survey week. WASHINGTON, Feb 20- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to steadily improving labor market conditions, despite two straight months of weak hiring.

  • NEW YORK, Feb 20- U.S. stock index futures turned positive after an industry report showed U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated in February at its fastest pace in nearly four years.

  • TransCanada profit up on gas pipeline results Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 9:02 AM ET

    Feb 20- TransCanada Corp, Canada's No. 2 pipeline operator, on Thursday reported higher fourth-quarter earnings on strong results from its gas pipelines and higher volumes on its Keystone oil pipeline system. Net income was C $420 million, or 59 Canadian cents per share, compared with C $306 million, or 43 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

  • US TREASURIES YIELDS RISE AFTER PMI DATA, 10- YR NOTES YIELD 2.75 PCT.

  • NEW YORK, Feb 20- U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated in February at its fastest pace in nearly four years due in part to growth in new orders, an industry report showed on Thursday. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 56.7 in February, its highest since May 2010, compared to 53.7 in the final reading for January.

  • MUMBAI, Feb 20- The Reserve Bank of India will need to continue raising its policy interest rate given the sticky nature of inflation, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, a former IMF chief economist, has raised the key repo rate by 75 basis points to 8.00 percent since becoming head of India's central bank in September.

  • *Ministerial mission to Ukraine could sway decision. BRUSSELS, Feb 20- The European Union was preparing on Thursday to impose sanctions on those responsible for deadly violence in Ukraine as well as to impose an arms embargo on the country, according to a draft ministerial statement obtained by Reuters.