United Continental Holdings jumped 3 percent. United Airlines profit in the second quarter topped expectations and marked a turnaround from the first quarter, when it was the only major U.S. carrier to report a loss. The Labor Department said weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped to their lowest reading since February 2006.» Read More
*FTSEurofirst 300 and Euro STOXX 50 up 1 pct. PARIS, Feb 12- European stocks climbed on Wednesday, extending their brisk week-long rally, with banking stocks leading the gainers after robust results and on hopes of rising dividends in the sector. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 1 percent at 3,108.24 points.
Feb 12- Air Canada said on Wednesday it expected weakness in the Canadian dollar and adverse weather conditions to weigh on results in the current quarter, news that sent its shares sinking as much as 20 percent in morning trading. A fall in the Canadian dollar hurts Air Canada as the airline makes its major purchases, such as planes and fuel, in U.S. dollars.
Feb 12- Shares of Talmer Bancorp Inc, backed by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, rose as much as 7 percent in their U.S. market debut, valuing the company at about $971 million. Talmer's initial public offering raised about $203 million after its Class A shares were priced at $13 per share, near the lower end of its $12.50- $14.50 expected pricing range.
DETROIT, Feb 12- Engine and transmission problems caused quality in the U.S. auto industry to slip for the first time in 16 years in a vehicle dependability study of owners of 3- year-old cars and trucks, falling from last year's record-high levels.
*Two big cases against Russia could be resolved this year. MOSCOW, Feb 12- Freed former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has ruled out trying to recover the fortune that made him Russia's richest man, but two multi-billion-dollar law suits involving his defunct oil giant Yukos could be decided this year.
NEW YORK, Feb 12- U.S. stocks opened flat on Wednesday, after a four-day rally left the S&P 500 within striking distance of a record high.
ABUJA, Feb 12- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday sacked four cabinet members including aviation minister Stella Oduah, a close ally, a presidency source said, in the latest of a wave of government changes ahead of elections next year.
*Vodafone wanted to add separate tax dispute- govt note. *Vodafone may seek international arbitration. NEW DELHI, Feb 12- India plans to pull out of talks with Britain's Vodafone Group Plc over a $2 billion tax dispute, in a move that will prolong a more than six-year old row and increase uncertainty among investors in Asia's third-largest economy.
BEIRUT, Feb 12- While the Syrian government and rebels have been at peace talks in Geneva, Syrians have been killed at the fastest rate since the country slid into conflict in 2011, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday.
PANAMA/ MADRID, Feb 12- The Panama Canal Authority said on Wednesday it had reached an initial agreement to resolve a dispute over cost overruns, raising the possibility work may start again on an ambitious and expensive project to widen the 100- year-old waterway.
*Asia, Gulf to drive global defence growth in 2014. LONDON, Feb 12- Fuelled by growing strains in Middle East and Asia, global defence spending looks set to rise in 2014 for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
Feb 12- Ventrus Biosciences Inc said its lead experimental drug to treat anal fissures failed to reduce pain more than a placebo in a late-stage trial, sending its shares plunging 67 percent in premarket trading.
*Procter& Gamble dips after outlook. *Stocks rose in a broad rally on Tuesday as Congress agreed to advance legislation extending the borrowing authority of the United States and after the Federal Reserve's new chief Janet Yellen made no changes to the central bank's schedule for trimming stimulus.
PARIS, Feb 12- Societe Generale is to return more cash to shareholders in 2014 than last year after completing a long-running overhaul of its balance sheet.
LONDON, Feb 12- North America's bitter cold and Britain's intense storms and flooding are due to heavy rain, caused by higher coastal temperatures, in Indonesia and tropical western Pacific via shifts in the jet stream, the UK Meteorological Office says..
NIGERIAN PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN SACKS MINISTERS OF AVIATION, NIGER DELTA AFFAIRS, POLICE AFFAIRS AND DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER- PRESIDENCY SOURCE.
TORONTO, Feb 12- Mexico's Grupo Bimbo will buy Canada Bread Company for C $1.83 billion in cash, allowing the Canadian company's parent Maple Leaf Foods to focus on its meat products business, Canada Bread said on Wednesday.
*Cites improving economies in Europe, United States. *OPEC pumps more crude in January on partial Libya recovery. LONDON, Feb 12- World oil demand will rise slightly more than expected in 2014, OPEC said on Wednesday, becoming the second major forecaster this week to predict higher fuel use as economic growth picks up in Europe and the United States.
BEIRUT, Feb 12- The Syrian government delegation to peace talks in Geneva said on Wednesday that negotiations must focus first on fighting terrorism before any other issue was discussed, state media reported.
By Vladimir Soldatkin and Gleb Stolyarov. MOSCOW, Feb 12- Russian investment group Summa has bought out the world's largest oil trader as a partner in a firm building a terminal at the Dutch port of Rotterdam, which could damage its plan to establish Urals crude as a market benchmark.