WASHINGTON, Dec 18- The United States was considering possible options on Thursday in response to a major cyber attack on Sony Pictures blamed on North Korea, amid calls for tougher sanctions on Pyongyang to cut it off from the global banking system. Hackers who said they were incensed by a film on the fictional assassination of North Korea's leader attacked...» Read More
*IPO process kicked off with initial Tokyo application. TOKYO/ SEOUL, July 16- Tokyo may struggle to get a piece of a listing that could value Japan's social messaging service Line Corp at up to $20 billion, with bankers saying New York is a more likely venue as a base for global expansion to build on explosive growth at home.
Boeing's stock soared nearly 80 percent last year, outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index. But as indexes pushed higher this year, investors sent Boeing down 5.7 percent amid concern that the aviation business cycle may have peaked and that Boeing's ability to produce positive surprises is limited.
NEW YORK, July 16- Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as interest rates edged up, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 3.6 percent in the week ended July 11.
HONG KONG/ BEIJING, July 16- When a fast-growing private equity firm co-founded by Jack Ma sought funding from institutional investors for the first time in early 2013, almost all had one major concern, its chairman said: was the firm independent from Ma, the influential executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, China's e-commerce giant.
July 16- Boeing Co is finalizing terms with China's Hainan Airlines Co Ltd for the sale of 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets worth $5.1 billion at current list prices.
But Russian shares fell for the third straight session, with a 0.5 percent fall as investors worried that Russia may be hit by another wave of sanctions for its involvement in Ukraine when European Union leaders meet later in the day.
*Experts see Israel mounting tunnel-hunting missions. GAZA/ JERUSALEM, July 16- Israel urged the evacuation on Wednesday of several Gaza Strip areas where more than 100,000 people live, threatening ground operations after briefly holding fire under an Egyptian truce proposal that failed to stop Palestinian rocket salvoes.
BRUSSELS, July 16- European Union leaders meet on Wednesday to discuss candidates for several top jobs in the 28- member union after the election of former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the executive European Commission.
ROME, July 16- Federica Mogherini is the front runner to be nominated on Wednesday as the European Union's new foreign policy chief for five years, even though the 41- year-old has only been Italy's foreign minister since February.
"The UAE Mars probe represents the Islamic world's entry into the era of space exploration. We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity, "said UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan.
The New York- based asset manager reported net income of $808 million, or $4.72 per share, up from $729 million, or $4.19 per share, a year earlier.
*Portugal Telecom salvages Oi merger but cuts stake. *Portugal Telecom shares jump in relief. LISBON, July 16- Portugal Telecom has been forced to take a cut in its share of the merger with Brazil's Grupo Oi after a holding company of the Espirito Santo family failed to repay more than $1 billion it owed to the telco.
*BMW to double range of China- made cars to six- CFO. BERLIN, July 16- BMW said on Wednesday it will raise capacity at its two Chinese plants by a third to 400,000 cars over the next two years, increasing its presence in the world's largest auto market.
LONDON, July 16- Britain's leading fraud prosecutor is evaluating material alleging UK aid might have been channelled to companies linked to James Ibori, a jailed Nigerian former oil state governor, a top government lawyer said on Wednesday.
FARNBOROUGH, England, July 16- Boeing finalised two orders for 787-9 Dreamliner planes with lessor MG Aviation Limited at the Farnborough Airshow on Wednesday, in a deal worth $499 million at list prices. MG ordered two 787-9 s in 2006 and now has four unfilled 787-9 s orders.
*FTSEurofirst 300 up 1 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 1.2 pct. LONDON, July 16- European equity markets recovered on Wednesday from losses in the previous session as a rebound in Banco Espirito Santo and in mining stocks lifted the region's bourses.
FARNBOROUGH, England, July 16- Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier on Wednesday reached the 500 mark for deals for its Q400 turboprop model and for its CSeries airliner with three contracts announced at the Farnborough Airshow.
*China Q2 GDP growth slightly higher than forecast at 7.5 pct. LONDON, July 16- Aluminium touched the highest levels in 13 months on Wednesday after data showed stronger economic growth in top metals consumer China amid producer cutbacks and eroding inventories. said Grant Sporre, head of metals research at Deutsche Bank.
FRANKFURT, July 16- The euro's share in global foreign exchange reserves fell further last year as central banks appeared to diversify their holdings but foreign investment into the euro zone rose, the European Central Bank said on Wednesday.
NEW YORK, July 16- KKR& Co LP's co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts have indicated they intend to stay at the buyout firm for at least five more years, but two men- Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae- are emerging as front-runners to eventually succeed them.