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  • TOKYO, Feb 18- Japan's Nikkei share average soared to a one-week high on Tuesday afternoon, spurred by banks after the Bank Of Japan said it would extend loan facilities by a year at its policy meeting. The Nikkei jumped 3.2 percent to 14,858.87 in early afternoon trade, the highest since Feb. 12.

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- The yen dropped against its major counterparts on Tuesday, after the Bank of Japan held policy steady as expected and extended a special lending program to support the economy.

  • *Alcoa to close Australia Point Henry aluminium smelter. *Will bring total Alcoa capacity cuts to 551,000 tonnes. SYDNEY, Feb 18- Alcoa Inc said it will close its Point Henry aluminium smelter and two rolling mills in Australia, underscoring the dire market conditions facing producers amid a flood of new Chinese capacity.

  • HONG KONG, Feb 18- Shanghai shares fell from a two-month high early on Tuesday, weighing on Hong Kong stocks, after China's central bank drained 48 billion yuan from the country's money market. The People's Bank of China had drained 450 billion yuan last week as it continued to taper a pre- Lunar New Year cash injection.

  • *China physical copper trades at premium to ShFE front-month. *Alcoa to shut Port Henry smelter in Australia. SYDNEY, Feb 18- London copper was steady on Tuesday after gains in the previous two sessions, supported by a post- Lunar New Year pick up in Chinese buying.

  • Feb 17- Las Vegas Sands Corp. brought its worldwide websites back online on Monday after a hacking attack forced the company to shut its home pages and other online operations last week, a spokesman said.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 18- Gold drifted lower on Tuesday as traders took profit from recent gains, but the safe-haven metal still held near 3-1/ 2 month highs due to a weaker U.S. dollar and concerns over global economic growth. Gold had gained three straight sessions through Monday, following weak U.S. economic data that also boosted silver.

  • *Maintains view Japan's economy recovering moderately. TOKYO, Feb 18- The Bank of Japan maintained its expansionary monetary policy on Tuesday and reiterated its upbeat view on the economy, unfazed by recent signs of slower growth and suggesting that any additional stimulus will be some time away.

  • Feb 17- Actavis Plc is in advanced talks to acquire rival drug maker Forest Laboratories Inc in a deal that could value Forest at up to $25 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter. The deal is expected to be announced as early as Tuesday, but it is possible that the talks could still fall apart, the Journal said.

  • BOJ stands pat on policy, extends special loan schemes Monday, 17 Feb 2014 | 10:38 PM ET

    TOKYO, Feb 18- The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Tuesday and maintained its upbeat assessment on the economy, unfazed by recent signs of slackening momentum in growth and signalling that any additional stimulus may be some time away.

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- A string of disappointing U.S. data pinned the dollar near six-week lows against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, while Asian shares mostly eased after solid gains in recent sessions.

  • *Frigid winter in North America drains oil supply. SINGAPORE, Feb 18- Brent crude was little changed on Tuesday, staying above $109 a barrel, as robust demand for heating purposes from North America and a weak dollar offset concerns over disappointing U.S. data.

  • BEIJING, Feb 18- China drew $10.76 billion in foreign direct investment in January, up 16.1 percent from a year earlier, the Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday, a sign that confidence in the world's second-largest economy remains firm even as growth cools.

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 18- China's Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd and PSA Peugeot Citroen will sign a memorandum of understanding on a capital tie-up between the two carmakers on Tuesday, a Dongfeng source told Reuters.

  • JGBs edge lower as Tokyo stocks bounce, BOJ in focus Monday, 17 Feb 2014 | 9:36 PM ET

    TOKYO, Feb 18- Japanese government bond prices edged down on Tuesday as Tokyo stocks bounced, with activity subdued as the market took a wait-and-see stance ahead of the Bank of Japan's monetary policy decision later in the day.

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- Japan's Nikkei share average bounced from a 1 1/ 2- week low on Tuesday morning, spurred by a retreat in the yen and investor hopes the central bank will hint of further stimulus after surprisingly soft fourth quarter gross domestic product data.

  • *Underlying profit of $7.76 bln v $6.9 bln consensus. MELBOURNE, Feb 18- Global miner BHP Billiton topped market forecasts with a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday and hinted it may launch a share buyback in August, despite a cautious outlook on Chinese growth.

  • SYDNEY, Feb 18- London copper held steady on Tuesday, supported by a post- Lunar New Year pick up in Chinese demand, but was down from near two-week highs hit the session before as traders waited for fresh readings on the pulse of the global manufacturing sector. *Copper prices reached an 11- seesion peak of $7,206.50 a tonne on Monday.

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 18- China's Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd and PSA Peugeot Citroen will sign a memorandum of understanding on a capital tie-up between the two carmakers later on Tuesday, a Dongfeng source told Reuters.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 18- U.S. crude futures held above $100 on Tuesday, buoyed by a weaker dollar and as frigid weather across North America lifted heating demand. A positive outcome would be negative for oil as sanctions on Tehran would ease, allowing the OPEC producer to export more crude and add to global supply.