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  • MOSCOW, Dec 17- Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he was not sure that the flow of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine should end when a Gazprom transit contract runs out at the end of the decade. In the past, rows between Moscow and Kiev have disrupted gas flows via Ukraine to Europe prompting a search for an alternative route. But this project has been...

  • Dec 17- Avon Products Inc said on Thursday it had agreed to sell 80.1 percent of its North America business to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP for $170 million. New York- based Cerberus will also invest $435 million for a 16.6 percent stake in the direct-seller of cosmetics in a deal that values Avon at about $2.5 billion. The Wall Street Journal...

  • Dec 17- U.S. oil and natural gas company Anadarko Petroleum Corp raised the midpoint of forecast for oil sales volume and expects lower spending during the current quarter and next year as well. Anadarko said it now expects capital spending in the fourth quarter to be at or below the midpoint of its previously estimated range of $1.23 billion to $1.43 billion.

  • *Brent little more than $1 above July 2004 low. Brent crude for February delivery, the front-month contract from Thursday, rose 4 cents to $37.43 a barrel by 1259 GMT. A dip below $36.20 will be the lowest since July 2004.

  • LONDON, Dec 17- Britain's Trinity Mirror lost its legal bid on Thursday to reduce the amount of compensation it must pay eight people who had their phones hacked by staff working for the newspaper group, potentially opening it up to higher payouts in future. Murdoch shut down the 168- year-old paper and police launched a wide investigation into phone-hacking...

  • LONDON, Dec 17- Britain received EU approval on Thursday to compensate firms in some energy-intensive industries for the cost of "green taxes," offering help to its ailing steel sector. "We have received approval from the European Commission for the UK government to commence relief," business minister Sajid Javid said in a statement, referring to compensation for...

  • LONDON, Dec 17- Global temperatures in 2016 are likely to be as warm or even warmer than in 2015, which will be the warmest on record, Britain's Met Office said on Thursday. "This forecast suggests that by the end of 2016 we will have seen three record, or near-record years in a row for global temperatures," Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the Met Office, said...

  • CARACAS, Dec 17- Venezuela's government must calm its rhetoric and make pragmatic fixes to an ailing economy after losing the legislature to the opposition for the first time in 16 years, a former senior aide to President Nicolas Maduro said in an interview. And the opposition should not be overconfident, given the Socialists still won more than 40 percent of...

  • Dec 17- U.S. oil and natural gas company Anadarko Petroleum Corp raised the midpoint of its current quarter forecast for oil sales volume by more than 15,000 barrels of oil per day.

  • *EU wants Japan to open up to EU food and drink. * "What is sensitive in Japan about chocolate?" BRUSSELS, Dec 17- The European Union and Japan could forge a free trade accord within months, but failure to do so by the end of next year could lead to scepticism that a deal will ever be reached, the EU's chief negotiator said on Thursday.

  • Dec 17- Accenture Plc reported a better-than-expected jump in quarterly revenue, helped by strong growth in its consulting business, particularly in North America. The business accounts for just over half of Accenture's revenue, with its outsourcing unit contributing the rest. Accenture has been investing heavily to boost its digital business, which offers...

  • BUENOS AIRES, Dec 17- The currency devaluation set to kick off in Argentina on Thursday is expected to pump millions of tonnes of pent up soybean supply into the international market at a time when the world is already seeing record stockpiles. His grains production push is happening as global stocks of corn, soybeans and wheat are already projected by the U.S....

  • SARAJEVO, Dec 17- Australia's Key Petroleum Ltd has expressed interest in oil and gas exploration in Bosnia after Shell Exploration Co, part of Royal Dutch Shell, pulled out, the Bosnian region's energy minister said on Thursday. The minister, Nermin Dzindic, said a Key Petroleum delegation would visit Bosnia in January for talks on getting concessions for...

  • STOCKHOLM, Dec 17- National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which bought the assets of bankrupt Saab Automobile, announced a 78- billion-yuan deal on Thursday to supply 150,000 electric cars to Chinese leasing firm Panda New Energy. The agreement marks a big breakthrough for Nevs, which bought Saab's assets in 2012 and exited corporate reorganization procedures in...

  • LONDON, Dec 17- British clothing and food retailer Marks& Spencer is to open its first store in Beijing on Friday, part of its strategy in China to focus on flagship stores in the largest cities, while expanding online. The firm said the store would build on the growing popularity in Beijing for M&S products through its online sites on Chinese marketplaces...

  • *UK rates have been at record low of 0.5 percent since 2009. LONDON, Dec 17- The first U.S. interest rate rise in nearly a decade helps clear the way for a similar, long-anticipated move by the Bank of England. But faced with near non-existent inflation, sluggish wage growth and ultra-loose monetary policy in Britain's main euro zone trading partners, Carney has...

  • Dec 17- General Mills Inc cut its full-year sales forecast and reported its second straight fall in quarterly sales, hurt by a strong dollar and weak demand for its snacks and baking products in the United States, its biggest market. General Mills had earlier said it expected sales to stay flat in 2016.. Net income attributable to General Mills rose 53 percent to...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- Martin Shkreli, a lightning rod for growing outrage over soaring prescription drug prices, was arrested by the FBI on Thursday after a federal investigation involving his former hedge fund and a pharmaceutical company he previously headed. The securities fraud probe of Shkreli, who is now chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and...

  • *Fed Chair Janet Yellen strongly hinted at a gradual tightening of monetary policy after Wednesday's rate increase and that the pace of further hikes would depend on inflation, which remained firmly below the central bank's 2 percent target. *Also scheduled for release at the same time is data on third-quarter current account deficit, which is forecast to have...

  • Dec 17- Rite Aid Corp, which has agreed to be bought by larger rival Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, reported same-store sales below analysts estimates hurt by the introduction of more low-margin generic drugs. Profit was hurt by expenses related to EnvisionRx, the pharmacy benefit manager which Rite Aid bought for about $2 billion in June, and lower income tax...