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  • LONDON, March 20- Copper slid on Thursday, giving up the previous day's gains, as investors worried about the prospect of U.S. interest rates increasing earlier than expected and about a credit squeeze in top consumer China. "The base metals prices are on a rollercoaster ride, especially copper," said analyst Daniel Briesemann at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

  • NORWEGIAN SHIP REACHES AREA IN SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN WHERE DEBRIS FROM MALAYSIA PLANE MAY HAVE BEEN SPOTTTED.

  • PRECIOUS-Gold hits three-week lows after Fed comments Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 6:44 AM ET

    *Gold extends losses after falling 1.8 pct on Thursday. LONDON, March 20- Gold hit three-week lows on Thursday after posting its biggest one-day fall since late January in the previous session, reacting to comments from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen suggesting U.S. interest rates could rise sooner than expected.

  • RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN SAYS RUSSIAN COMPANIES MUST BE REGISTERED IN RUSSIA, BE TRANSPARENT.

  • *MAGE-A3 fails to hit goal in Phase III lung cancer trial. March 20- An experimental cancer vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline has failed in a second test- this time against lung cancer- but the British company said it still hoped to identify a sub-group of patients in which it would work.

  • MUMBAI, March 20- Toyota Motor Corp's Indian unit said on Thursday it had suspended some workers for misconduct at its domestic plants, which have been closed since Sunday over a pay dispute.

  • March 20- Business research and information firm IHS Inc reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, helped by contract wins in its non-subscription businesses.

  • BERLIN, March 20- European leaders will show they are ready to ramp up punitive measures against Russia, including politically sensitive economic sanctions, at a summit starting on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament.

  • *U.S. stockpiles rise more than expected; fall at Cushing hub. LONDON, March 20- Brent crude oil eased on Thursday after the U.S. "The Fed's move came as something of a surprise in terms of the timing for increasing rates," said Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland.

  • HONG KONG, March 20- China's yuan plunged to its weakest levels against the dollar in more than a year on Thursday as investors increased selling having interpreted signals from the central bank that it was comfortable with the fall.

  • BRUSSELS, March 20- European policymakers agreed on Thursday to complete a banking union with an agency to shut failing euro zone banks but there will be no euro zone backstop for the new fund to help cover the costs of such closures.

  • TOKYO, March 20- Japan stands ready to unleash further monetary and fiscal stimulus as needed to support the economy if the impact of a coming sales tax hike proves worse than expected, a senior government official said on Thursday.

  • Britain sets out Europe's energy alternatives to Russia Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 5:16 AM ET

    BRUSSELS, March 20- Europe has a range of options to shore up its energy security and cut dependence on Russian supplies, including asking the United States to export more gas and working with Iraq, a British government document says.

  • *China's yuan skids to its lowest in a year. LONDON, March 20- The dollar steadied at higher levels on Thursday and stocks and bonds fell across the globe as investors positioned for U.S. interest rates to rise sooner and faster than previously thought.

  • TOKYO, March 20- A torrent of foreign capital into Japanese shares, the driving force behind last year's surge, has reversed, as impatience with "Abenomics" made Tokyo one of the worst-performing markets since the start of 2014. The first two arrows in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy quiver- huge government spending and unprecedented monetary easing- drove the Tokyo market up 57 percent in 2013. But foreign investors are growing tired of waiting for the third arrow, structural reform for long-term growth.

  • Profit growth slows sharply at China's state firms Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 5:01 AM ET

    BEIJING, March 20- Annual profit growth at China's state firms slowed sharply to 2.8 percent in the first two months of 2014, official data showed on Thursday, adding to signs that the world's second-largest economy is faltering in the first quarter.

  • LOS ANGELES, March 20- Young actors Shailene Woodley and Theo James arrived on the Hollywood set of the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" TV talk show by sliding above a cheering crowd while harnessed to a zip line, a dramatic entrance to spark interest in "Divergent," the movie Lions Gate Entertainment Corp hopes to make its next hit franchise.

  • Europe shares dip after shift to Fed rate guidance Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 4:53 AM ET

    *FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.3 pct. *Siemens boosted by UBS rating upgrade. At 0837 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,302.56 points, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.3 percent at 3,066.87 points.

  • FOREX-Dollar pauses after Fed-led surge Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 4:49 AM ET

    *Dollar strength helps push China's yuan to one-year low. LONDON, March 20- The dollar steadied against its major currency peers on Thursday after being jerked higher overnight by a surprise message from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen that rises in U.S. interest rates are not as far away as most had thought.

  • *Asia-Pacific revenue rises 12.4 pct. March 20- Premier Farnell Plc, a distributor of small electronics and electronic parts, reported an 8.4 percent rise in full-year pretax profit, helped by higher-than-expected sales in emerging markets like China and India in the second half of the year.