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  • WASHINGTON, Dec 4- The Obama administration said on Thursday it would be irresponsible to end government stewardship of the country's biggest mortgage finance firms without legislation from Congress. "The only way to responsibly end the conservatorship is through legislation," Michael Stegman, the Treasury Department's top official for housing policy,...

  • UPDATE 1-GlaxoSmithKline abandons sale of older drugs Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 12:03 PM ET

    LONDON, Dec 4- GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it had decided not to sell a portfolio of older drugs marketed in North America and Europe after considering offers from potential buyers. A spokesman for GSK, which was being advised on the disposal by Lazard, declined to give any more details. People familiar with the situation said last month that several private...

  • LONDON, Dec 4- Qatar's sovereign wealth fund and a North American investor have upped their joint bid for Songbird Estates, the owner of London's Canary Wharf financial district, with an offer that values the company at 2.6 billion pounds. Songbird is the majority owner of the Canary Wharf estate, established about 25 years ago on former docks as a new financial...

  • *Weekly jobless claims land almost as expected. NEW YORK, Dec 4- U.S. stocks fell on Thursday after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi brushed off pressure to act and said the bank would reassess the impact of its monetary policy stimulus early next year and take further action if necessary. Every time they get a bad number or are worried about the...

  • ECB's Draghi seizes on oil price drop in QE calculus Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 11:52 AM ET

    FRANKFURT, Dec 4- The falling price of oil has crashed into the European Central Bank's policy considerations, with President Mario Draghi firmly focused on the drop as a problem for inflation rather than a potential fillip for growth. The price of Brent crude hit a 5- year low below $68 a barrel on Monday after averaging around $110 a barrel in 2011 to 2013..

  • Ponte worked in Sanofi's Bridgewater, New Jersey, office reviewing contracts for legal compliance, according to the lawsuit. In March 2013, she discovered that nine contracts paying $34 million to accounting firm Deloitte LLP and consulting firm Accenture Plc were actually covers for kickbacks, the lawsuit said. Deloitte and Accenture are not defendants in...

  • *Expects 2015 profit of $3.00- $3.15/ share vs $2.94 last year. *Posts fourth-quarter profit of $1/ share vs estimates of $1.07. The company's printwear business sells plain T-shirts, fleece, and sport shirts mainly to wholesale distributors and screen printers in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

  • NEW YORK, Dec 4- Oil fell in choppy trading on Thursday as the debate for a sustainable price level continued after Saudi Arabia announced deep discounts for the crude it sells to Asian and U.S. buyers in an apparent attempt to defend its market share. News that Libya's El Sharara oil field, one of OPEC's largest, might be ready to resume output after a pipeline...

  • LONDON, Dec 4- Global mining company Rio Tinto is not looking to make any major acquisition to protect itself from a potential Glencore takeover, Chief Executive Sam Walsh said at a meeting with investors on Thursday. Since Rio Tinto rejected a tentative approach from smaller rival Glencore in July, speculation has mounted that it might rush to make an...

  • GlaxoSmithKline abandons sale of older drugs Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 11:28 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 4- GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it had decided not to sell a portfolio of older drugs marketed in North America and Europe after considering offers from potential buyers.

  • TREASURIES-Prices rise as ECB reduces growth forecasts Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 11:21 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Dec 4- U.S. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt that the ECB's Governing Council was unanimous in backing such potential steps as a government bond-buying program with new money. Treasuries initially rose on the ECB's actions and Draghi's comments but then slipped as investor reassessed the timing and...

  • U.S. swaps regulator wants tighter clearing house rules Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 11:17 AM ET

    WASHINGTON, Dec 4- Regulators should consider tighter rules for clearing houses given their crucial role as guardians against market routs after the 2007-2009 credit crisis, a senior U.S. swaps regulator said on Thursday. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission should take a first step towards subjecting clearing houses to more standardized regular...

  • UPDATE 1-Hungary to buy Budapest Bank from GE Capital Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 11:07 AM ET

    *GE's Budapest Bank is Hungary's eighth-largest lender. BUDAPEST, Dec 4- Hungary's government has signed a preliminary agreement to buy Budapest Bank, the country's eighth-biggest lender, from GE Capital, it said on Thursday, part of efforts to increase state control of key sectors of the economy. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has slapped banks with...

  • LONDON, Dec 4- Only one top executive in eight at major financial services firms is a woman and the pace of change at banks and other companies is too slow, according to a diversity study. This is especially important for a sector that has recently suffered scandals attributed to unchallenged leadership and' groupthink', "said Michelle Daisley, partner at Oliver...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 4- Under pressure from the federal government, the trade group for the U.S. casino industry has released the first ever set of best practices aimed at helping the industry police itself for money laundering activity. "For a number of years, individual properties and companies within the casino industry have made anti-money laundering...

  • SEATTLE, Dec 4- Starbucks Corp, aiming to give cooling U.S. traffic a jolt, on Thursday announced it will add beer, wine, and evening snacks to thousands of domestic cafes, widen lunch offerings and roll out mobile ordering. Starbuck plans to reap about $1 billion in new sales from the addition of evening menus, including beer, wine and food, at nearly 3,000 of its 11,900...

  • TORONTO, Dec 4- Shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce slid on Thursday after posting soft results in what is shaping up to be a disappointing fourth-quarter earnings season for Canadian lenders. TD Bank reported a weaker-than-expected profit, even as its revenue and earnings rose, and said it expects a more challenging...

  • CHICAGO, Dec 4- U.S. fast-food workers and supporters marched for higher pay in Chicago, Milwaukee and Boston on Thursday as demonstrations advocating for a $15 minimum wage and other labor rights planned in at least 160 cities began around the United States. About 200 demonstrators marched in downtown Chicago starting near the Rock' N' Roll McDonald's, the...

  • CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Dec 4- The launch of NASA's deep-space Orion capsule for a test flight around Earth was delayed on Thursday after a last-minute technical problem with its rocket, NASA said. United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that builds and flies the Delta 4 rocket, plans to try again at 7:05 a.m. EST on Friday.

  • The naira is under pressure as falling global oil prices have depressed Nigeria's foreign reserves and the central bank is struggling to keep the currency in a new target band set last week when it devalued the currency by 8 percent to protect its reserves. On Thursday, the finance ministry said it had cut its oil price forecast on which its 2015 budget is based by...