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  • *Trade deficit Y800 bln, vs record Y2.8 trln in Jan. TOKYO, March 19- Japan's annual export growth in February was well below market expectations, but business confidence remained steady over the month- although that may not last too long.

  • SYDNEY, March 19- London copper edged up on Wednesday in thin volumes ahead of a key U.S. monetary policy meeting later in the session, while persistent worries over growth and credit markets in top user China dulled buying interest.

  • OTTAWA, March 18- Canada's Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, the Conservative government's point man on the Keystone XL pipeline, will be appointed the new finance minister, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported on Tuesday. CBC did not cite any sources in its report and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief spokesman Jason MacDonald would not comment.

  • CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORP REPORTS THAT CANADA'S NEW FINANCE MINISTER WILL BE JOE OLIVER, REPLACING JIM FLAHERTY WHO RESIGNED ON TUESDAY.

  • TOKYO, March 19- The dollar stood near its lowest level in more than four months against a basket of currencies on Wednesday, on some trepidation ahead of Janet Yellen's inaugural policy review as the Federal Reserve's chief.

  • PRECIOUS-Gold steadies after fall; equities watched Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 | 8:53 PM ET

    SINGAPORE, March 19- Gold held steady on Wednesday as fears of an escalation of tensions in Ukraine eased slightly but markets remained cautious ahead a policy decision by the U.S.

  • WASHINGTON, March 18- The U.S. Justice Department has reached a $1 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp over the automaker's handling of consumer complaints tied to unintended vehicle acceleration and will announce the agreement as early as Wednesday, CNN reported.

  • SINGAPORE, March 19- U.S. crude slipped to trade below the $100 per barrel mark in early Asian trade on Wednesday amid expectations of another build in supplies and ahead of a Federal Reserve policy review.

  • DIARY - Top economic Events to Mar 30 Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 | 8:01 PM ET

    Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will visit Miami and Florida to highlight the importance of investing in workforce skills and job training to promote lasting economic opportunity, including for the middle class. LONDON- British Finance Minister George Osborne unveils 2014 budget. FRANKFURT- ECB governing council and general council meeting.

  • LONDON, March 19- Thomson Reuters Corp said it has launched a central register of information to help banks meet increasing compliance demands on who they deal with and cut their costs by reducing duplication.

  • LONDON, March 19- Using Roche's medicine Tamiflu saved lives during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic four years ago, according to a new scientific study published on Wednesday.

  • LONDON, March 19- British finance minister George Osborne will announce a pre-election budget on Wednesday that is likely to offer some tax relief to voters but will stick closely to his tough decade-long plan to fix the public finances.

  • Japan Feb exports rise 9.8 pct year/year - MOF Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 | 7:56 PM ET

    TOKYO, March 19- Japan's exports rose 9.8 percent in February from a year earlier as shipments recovered from a Lunar New Year slowdown, Ministry of Finance data showed on Wednesday. The rise in exports compared with a 12.4 percent gain expected by economists in a Reuters poll, and was led by brisk shipments of cars, the data showed.

  • *Tensions over Ukraine crisis ease somewhat. TOKYO, March 19- Asian share markets opened on a tentative footing on Wednesday, with investors cautious amid the backdrop of East-West geopolitical tensions involving Ukraine and ahead of a closely-watched Federal Reserve policy review later in the session.

  • SAN FRANCISCO, March 18- Voice-controlled smartwatches that track heart rates and connect to phones and tablets will debut later this year as Google Inc partners with electronics, technology and fashion companies to take consumers to the next promised frontier in computing.

  • SAN FRANCISCO, March 18- Pandora Media Inc will increase fees for its ad-free service by $1 a month to almost $5 a month in May, a move to cover the rising cost of licensing tunes that may annoy some longtime fans of the popular music-streaming service.

  • CBOE Holdings top executives authorize stock sales Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 | 6:50 PM ET

    CHICAGO, March 18- CBOE Holdings Inc's top two executives have each established plans to sell up to 14 percent of their shares in the company, the exchange-operator said on Tuesday, a day after its stock price hit a record high.

  • WASHINGTON, March 18- In an unusual move, the White House on Tuesday recommended that investors avoid Russian stocks as the political rhetoric heated up in the dispute over Moscow declaring Ukraine's Crimean peninsula part of Russia.

  • *Forecasts 2nd- qtr adjusted profit $0.26- $0.32/ share vs est. March 18- Adobe Systems Inc, the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software, forecast current-quarter profit and revenue above analysts' estimates, citing strong demand for its Creative Cloud suite and digital marketing software.

  • UPDATE 1-S&P upgrades MBIA, Assured Guaranty Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 | 6:19 PM ET

    NEW YORK, March 18- Standard& Poor's upgraded bond insurer MBIA Inc on Tuesday, saying it expects the company to gain market share and resume its prior role as a strong player in guaranteeing U.S. municipal debt.