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  • WASHINGTON, March 14- U.S. producer prices fell in February, reinforcing the view that minimal inflation pressures could keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates for quite some time. The Labor Department said on Friday its seasonally adjusted producer price index for final demand dropped 0.1 percent last month.

  • *Equities tumbled on Thursday on rising concerns over Ukraine and Russia and new signs of an economic slowdown in China. Secretary of State John Kerry will seek assurances from Russia on Friday that it will not seek to annex Crimea and will address concerns over Ukraine through negotiation, a senior State Department official said before talks in London.

  • UPDATE 1-Ann Taylor owner's profit beats estimates Friday, 14 Mar 2014 | 8:58 AM ET

    March 14- Women's apparel retailer Ann Inc's fourth-quarter profit topped analysts' estimates as it managed its holiday season promotions better than its rivals. Apparel retailer Express Inc on Wednesday said it expected its profit to slide by more than half in the current quarter due to heavy discounting and a decline in store traffic.

  • *Small delivery seen against London cocoa expiry. Cocoa edged up as traders focused on expiry of the London March contract. "The lower price has forced more people to fix contracts", before prices fall further, one London- based coffee futures broker said.

  • WASHINGTON, March 14- U.S. producer prices fell in February, dragged down by falling costs for services and offering little sign of a pickup in inflation pressures. The Labor Department said on Friday its seasonally adjusted producer price index for final demand dropped 0.1 percent last month.

  • MOSCOW, March 14- Any move by the European Union to impose a visa ban on Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin would be "stupid" and hurt the Russian state oil company's Western partners more that Rosneft itself, a company spokesman said on Friday.

  • *Mechel should repay $1 bln of debt this year. MOSCOW, March 14- Russia may again have to step in to help coal and steel group Mechel after the country's largest private bank asked for the early repayment of a $150 million loan.

  • MOSCOW, March 14- Russian state-owned development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, needs to be recapitalised in order to fund housebuilding projects, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, according to RIA news agency.

  • *Draghi sees euro zone deflation risks as "quite limited". *Japan experience shows how deflation can gradually take hold. FRANKFURT/ WASHINGTON, March 14- Meeting students at the University of Amsterdam in April last year, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi extolled the virtues of courage, recalling a story his father had told him:.

  • RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER MEDVEDEV SAYS STATE-OWNED DEVELOPMENT BANK VEB NEEDS TO BE RECAPITALISED- RIA NEWS AGENCY.

  • *Equities tumbled on Thursday on rising concerns over Ukraine and Russia and new signs of an economic slowdown in China. Secretary of State John Kerry will seek assurances from Russia on Friday that it will not seek to annex Crimea and will address concerns over Ukraine through negotiation, a senior State Department official said before talks in London.

  • MOSCOW, March 14- Russian stock indexes hit their lowest levels since 2009 on Friday before clawing back some ground, two days before a referendum in Crimea that is expected to provoke western sanctions against Russia.

  • March 14- U.S. packaged foods group General Mills Inc warned third-quarter earnings would fall below analysts' expectations as it faces increased competition from store brands and spends more on marketing its yogurts.

  • BEIJING, March 14- China's largest state refiner, Sinopec Corp, said it had entered a long-term deal to buy liquefied petroleum gas from Phillips 66, showing the U.S. shale drilling boom is having an impact on Asian markets.

  • Women's apparel retailer Ann to cut about 100 jobs Friday, 14 Mar 2014 | 7:39 AM ET

    March 14- Women's apparel retailer Ann Inc said it would cut about 100 jobs from its corporate workforce.

  • European shares extend slide ahead of Crimea vote Friday, 14 Mar 2014 | 7:36 AM ET

    *U.S. flows into Europe equities slow- Lipper. PARIS, March 14- European shares fell on Friday, extending their pull-back as tensions in Ukraine before a weekend referendum in the Crimea peninsula unnerved investors.

  • LOS ANGELES/ NEW YORK, March 13- Media companies plan to press Comcast Corp for higher fees in the coming year, seeing an opportunity to squeeze better terms from the U.S. cable company as regulators review its planned takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc..

  • PARIS, March 14- Vivendi has decided "whatever the cost" to pick local cable group Numericable to buy its French telecoms unit SFR, France's industry minister said on Friday just before the seller's board convened to decide on competing bids.

  • GM under mounting pressure to pay crash victims Friday, 14 Mar 2014 | 7:24 AM ET
    Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors.

    General Motors is facing increasing pressure to compensate victims for an ignition defect that prompted the recall of 1.6 million vehicles.

  • Puerto Rico debt restructuring seen as inevitable Friday, 14 Mar 2014 | 7:09 AM ET
    A roofless colonial building is overtaken by vegetation in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    Few who have followed the Caribbean island's financial troubles doubt that a massive restructuring is in its future.