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  • 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.

  • Harper is from the western province of Alberta. Moore, among the youngest ministers, is a rising star who is a formidable performer in the House of Commons in both official languages. One drawback is that he, like Harper, is from the West, but at least he is from British Columbia and not Alberta.

  • WASHINGTON, March 18- If anyone should find it odd that a Japanese distillery was planning to merge with a U.S. bourbon brand steeped in the history of the American South, the answer could be found on a cocktail menu. Prices for bourbon, a type of whiskey distilled from at least 51 percent corn, have risen faster than inflation in the United States for years.

  • OTTAWA, March 18- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will announce a new finance minister on Wednesday to replace Jim Flaherty, who resigned on Tuesday, a Conservative source told Reuters.

  • OTTAWA, March 18- Canada's Jim Flaherty, the long-serving Conservative finance minister who helped steer the economy through the global financial crisis, resigned from politics on Tuesday, leaving the country on track to balance its books by 2015..

  • March 18- Detroit asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday to consolidate seven cases seeking to overturn a December ruling that found the city was eligible for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection.

  • *Putin says Russia does not want further Ukraine split. *Microsoft shares rally 4 pct, lead S&P 500. NEW YORK, March 18- Major world equity markets rose on Tuesday after comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin soothed anxiety that tensions over Ukraine could escalate, while U.S.

  • NEW YORK, March 18- New York state's attorney general on Tuesday said U.S. stock exchanges and alternative trading platforms provide high-frequency traders with unfair technological advantages that give them early access to key data.

  • March 18- Wells Fargo& Co Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf earned $19.3 million in 2013, identical to what he took home a year earlier, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. David Hoyt, Wells Fargo's head of wholesale banking, was the second-highest paid executive behind Stumpf.

  • OTTAWA, March 18- Canada's straight-talking finance minister, Jim Flaherty, is stepping down after eight years overseeing an economy that fared better than most in the global financial crisis but before he reached his goal of balancing the government's books.

  • NEW YORK, March 18- Japan's Fast Retailing Co Ltd, parent of apparel chain Uniqlo, is no longer in talks to buy U.S. clothing retailer J. Crew Group Inc from its private equity owners, three people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. It is possible that the talks with Fast Retailing may be revived, one of the people said.

  • *Putin tells parliament he does not want more of Ukraine. *Microsoft shares rally, near $40 for first time since 2000. NEW YORK, March 18- U.S. stocks climbed for a second straight session on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 within striking distance of its record after comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin soothed anxiety that tensions over Ukraine could escalate.

  • March 18- Adobe Systems Inc, the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software, reported better-than-expected quarterly results, helped by strong demand for its Creative Cloud suite and digital marketing software.

  • *Plans comeback with major gas export project in Canada. BEIJING, March 19- A Chinese oil tycoon, who lost his fortune after being jailed for embezzlement in 2007, aims to make his comeback with an ambitious project in Canada to export gas back to his homeland.

  • *Beef smuggled from countries such as Brazil, India. SINGAPORE/ BEIJING, March 19- Sidestepping Beijing's import curbs, industry sources estimate hundreds of thousands of tonnes of beef from countries such as Brazil and India is being smuggled into China via neighbouring Hong Kong and Vietnam.

  • *Asia's Iran crude liftings rise sharply in February. The deal between Iran and six world powers struck in November, and implemented on Jan. 20, freed up $4.2 billion in oil payments to Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

  • OTTAWA, March 18- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who helped Canada emerge from the recent recession in better shape than most rich countries, resigned from politics on Tuesday after recording the third longest stint in the portfolio in the country's history.

  • NEW YORK, March 18- A U.S. lawyer on Tuesday appealed a federal judge's ruling that he used fraud to secure a multibillion-dollar pollution judgment against Chevron Corp in Ecuador, a decision that bars him from collecting a $9.5 billion award in the United States.

  • Microsoft hits 13-year high on Office-for-iPad report Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 | 4:41 PM ET

    The tech giant's shares spiked to levels not seen since the dotcom boom on reports that the company plans to unveil an iPad version of its Office software suite.

  • SAN FRANCISCO, March 18- Oracle Corp on Tuesday reported increased revenue and profit for its fiscal third quarter, but the results disappointed investors, who were looking for signs of a sustained turnaround, and its shares fell sharply. "They still have heavy lifting ahead in order to declare this a turnaround story," Dan Ives, an analyst with FBR, said.