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  • Lidl chairman steps down over strategy differences Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 11:29 AM ET

    *Owned by Germany's third-richest man, Dieter Schwarz. Based in Neckarsulm in southern Germany, Lidl is owned by Germany's third-richest man, Dieter Schwarz, son of the company's founder Josef Schwarz. Klaus Gehrig took over as the chain's chief executive from Dieter Schwarz in 2004..

  • NEW YORK, March 20- The dollar powered higher against its major currency peers while stocks and bonds fell across the globe on Thursday as investors positioned for a speedier rise in U.S. interest rates than previously thought.

  • *EU leaders meet on Russia, Ukraine and energy issues. *Leaders may add up to 12 names to Russia travel-ban, asset-freeze list.

  • NEW YORK, March 20- U.S. Treasuries prices were roughly unchanged on Thursday a day after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spooked traders by signaling the U.S. central bank's policy-makers may start raising interest rates sooner than expected.

  • Facing a possible widening of Western sanctions that may target businessmen close to Putin, some of Russia's oligarchs are increasingly nervous about their companies' prospects. Some of Russia's largest companies are registered abroad where they may benefit from lower tax rates but also may enjoy some distance from the Kremlin and feel beyond its reach.

  • SIMFEROPOL/SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine, March 20- M ilitary personnel and residents in Crimea rushed to apply for Russian passports and drop their Ukrainian citizenship on Thursday, as Moscow tightened its grip on the Black Sea peninsula it wrested away from Kiev.

  • DUBAI, March 20- Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank has invited banks to pitch for the adviser role on its highly-anticipated flotation on the kingdom's bourse, it said on Thursday.

  • OSLO, March 20- The owner of a Norwegian car carrier said it planned to search through the night for two large objects sighted off Australia that could be debris from a missing Malaysian jetliner, despite the official search being suspended because it was too dark.

  • *U.S. stockpiles rise more than expected; fall at Cushing hub. LONDON, March 20- Brent crude oil rose slightly on Thursday after a gauge of U.S. economic activity came in stronger than expected for February. Brent was up 12 cents at $105.97 a barrel by 1441 GMT, after settling 94 cents lower on Wednesday.

  • *Indonesia coffee fetches high premiums on crop concerns. LONDON, March 20- Arabica coffee futures on ICE fell sharply on Thursday from last week's two-year high as rains in Brazil raised the possibility that drought-driven crop losses may not be as severe as feared.

  • March 20- Online home-rental marketplace Airbnb Inc is in advanced talks with private equity firms including TPG Capital Management LP to raise funds that would value the company at about $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

  • US STOCKS-Wall St edges higher after Philly Fed data Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 10:48 AM ET

    Wall Street opened lower but reversed course after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose far more than expected in March, rebounding after a contraction in February.

  • Airbnb in advanced financing talks: Report Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 10:38 AM ET
    Airbnb webpage

    Online home-rental marketplace Airbnb is in talks with private equity firms, according to a report.

  • *For poll data see EQUITYPOLL1. NEW YORK, March 20- Global tensions and reduced stimulus from the Federal Reserve will keep U.S. stock market gains modest for the rest of 2014, a Reuters poll found. "We're in a little bit of a negative risk-reward dynamic for equities," said Barry Knapp, managing director of equity research at Barclays Capital in New York.

  • *Blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 seen adding 7.3 pct by end-2014. *Germany's DAX seen trailing, Italy's FTSE MIB surging. Germany's DAX will underperform, however, hurt in part by its strong exposure to troubled emerging markets, which have seen big swings in the value of their currencies.

  • *FTSE 100 index to end 2014 at record high of 7,065. The poll, conducted over the past week, showed the blue-chip FTSE 100 index will climb to a new life-time high of 7,065 points by the end of 2014, over 7 percent higher than Wednesday's close of 6,573 points. By the middle of 2014, the FTSE 100 index is forecast to reach 6,820 points.

  • March 20- Online home-rental marketplace Airbnb Inc is in advanced talks with private equity firms including TPG Capital Management LP to raise funds that would value the company at about $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

  • HOLLYWOOD, Fla., March 20- U.S. blacklistings over Russia's annexation of Crimea may spark a sanctions exchange that would leave banks scrambling to assess their exposure to targeted parties and to uncover murky financial linkages, according to industry officials.

  • FACTBOX-Key facts about Europe's banking union Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 10:09 AM ET

    BRUSSELS, March 20- Europe struck a deal on Thursday to complete a banking union with an agency to shut failing euro zone banks, but there will be no joint backstop for a fund to pay the costs of closures. *Banking union was shaped in part by Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, but it falls short of his vision.

  • Philly Fed factory activity index jumps in March Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 | 10:09 AM ET

    NEW YORK, March 20- Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region expanded far more than expected in March, a survey showed on Thursday. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 9.0 in March from -6.3 in February, topping economists' expectations for 3.8, according to a Reuters poll.