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  • *Saudi Arabia sees price floor of around $60- WSJ. LONDON, Dec 4- Brent crude oil steadied around $70 a barrel on Thursday as investors searched for a stable price range after a near 40 percent fall since June. "If you look at what has happened in the last few days, we seem to be sitting around $70 a barrel," said Olivier Jakob, oil analyst at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland.

  • RUSSIA'S PUTIN SAYS BECAME STRONGER COUNTRY BECAUSE OF ITS PEOPLE.

  • European shares steady ahead of ECB, Ryanair surges Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 4:07 AM ET

    *Ryanair jumps after raising profit guidance. LONDON, Dec 4- The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index steadied near a 2-1/ 2- month high on Thursday, with investors avoiding strong positive bets ahead of a meeting of the European Central Bank. Ryanair led the European Travel and Leisure index to gain 1.4 percent, the biggest sectoral gainer.

  • FOREX -Euro falls below $1.23 ahead of ECB, yen weak Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 4:02 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 4- The euro fell to less than $1.23 for the first time in more than two years on Thursday, finding few friends in a market that is wagering the European Central Bank will be forced to inject even more stimulus into a moribund euro zone economy. The yen was also teetering on the brink against the dollar, although dealers said there was at least $1 billion in...

  • OUAGADOUGOU, Dec 4- When Colonel Isaac Zida swapped his military fatigues for a blue suit to chair his first cabinet meeting as prime minister of Burkina Faso, his intended audience may have been the West and its African allies. While some diplomats have voiced unease about the military's role in politics since protests toppled long-time ruler Blaise Compaore...

  • METALS-Copper gains on higher oil, China data Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 3:51 AM ET

    SYDNEY, Dec 4- Copper futures strengthened on Thursday, underpinned by rising oil prices and data showing the services sector in China grew marginally faster in November. Copper has gained more than $200 per tonne since sinking to a 4-1/ 2- year low on Monday on the back of lower oil prices. Copper, used widely in industrial and consumer applications also found...

  • Kremlin aide plays down recession forecast for 2015 Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 3:46 AM ET

    MOSCOW, Dec 4- Kremlin economic adviser Andrei Belousov said on Thursday a forecast that the Russian economy will plunge into recession next year was a "technical mistake".

  • SHANGHAI, Dec 4- U.S. retailer Best Buy Co Inc said on Thursday it will sell its struggling China business, Five Star, to domestic real estate firm Zhejiang Jiayuan Group in order to focus on its North American operations. Best Buy has struggled to fend off Chinese rivals in a crowded market, as other U.S. firms have complained that operating in the country has become...

  • KREMLIN TOP ECONOMIC AIDE BELOUSOV SAYS RECENT RECESSION FORECAST FOR 2015 IS "TECHNICAL MISTAKE".

  • LONDON, Dec 4- Trafigura, one of the world's biggest commodities trading firms, played a pivotal role in helping Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region export oil, which the Iraqi government considered illegal, three sources familiar with the trades said. This week Iraq and its Kurdish region reached a landmark deal designed to resolve a dispute over oil...

  • SHANGHAI, Dec 4- Chinese coal miners are raising spot prices in a domestic market struggling to recover from seven-year lows, desperate for an edge in annual negotiations to supply power plants, key buyers in the world's biggest consumer of coal, industry sources say. Discussions on annual contracts for 2015 are being closely watched abroad as any sustained...

  • European shares edge higher, focus on ECB meeting Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 3:15 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 4- The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up to trade near a 2-1/ 2- month high on Thursday, with an improving U.S. economic outlook and expectations of further stimulus from the European Central Bank helping the market. Ryanair jumped 8.7 percent, the top gainer in the FTSEurofirst 300 index, after raising its full-year profit guidance to...

  • Hong Kong shares close higher as China stocks sizzle Thursday, 4 Dec 2014 | 3:10 AM ET

    HONG KONG, Dec 4- Hong Kong shares rose on Thursday as mainland China markets extended their blistering rally, with financial and energy stocks leading the gains. Among the most actively traded stocks on Hong Kong's main board were CCT Land Holding, down 6.3 percent to HK $0.02, Bank Of China, up 3.2 percent to HK $4.16 and China Construction Bank, up 2.4 percent to HK...

  • WOLFSBURG, Germany, Dec 4- Volkswagen will hand more power to brand managers and regional bosses, its labor leader told Reuters, as Europe's biggest carmaker looks to address underperformance in markets such as the United States and Brazil. Bernd Osterloh, head of the German group's works council, also said in an interview he expected Chief Executive Martin...

  • *Gangs in Poland, Baltics selling illegal documents. LONDON, Dec 4- Andriy left his home town in western Ukraine earlier this year on a journey that brought him through the hands of shady traders in Poland to one of the world's booming markets for illegal immigrants- London. Fleeing the strife of war with Russian-backed fighters and a shattered economy, Andriy is...

  • BANGKOK, Dec 4- Consumer confidence in Thailand fell in November, a university survey showed on Thursday, in spite of low inflation and moves by the military government to try to boost the economy. The consumer confidence index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce dropped to 79.4 in November from 80.1 in October. The slip was the second since a...

  • MOSCOW, Dec 4- The rouble firmed on Thursday as markets weighed comments from the central bank confirming its readiness to defend the fragile Russian currency and awaited a keynote speech by President Vladimir Putin. At 0745 GMT, the rouble was 0.6 percent firmer at 52.81 versus the dollar and 0.9 percent stronger at 64.97 against the euro, easing back after...

  • Net buying of stocks by trust banks, which manage corporate pension trusts and national pension fund trusts, was at 221.12 billion yen during the week of Nov. 25-28, data from the Tokyo Stock Exchange showed. "The fact that the amount that they bought is big means that a big pension fund could have bought Japanese shares," said Shingo Kumazawa, an analyst at Daiwa...

  • COPENHAGEN, Dec 4- The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to renew a package of temporary tax breaks, known as the "extenders," including a wind production tax credit crucial for turbine makers such as Denmark's Vestas. The PTC will be extended for one year retroactively for 2014 if the Senate and President Barack Obama concur. However, he said the...

  • HONG KONG, Dec 4- A hiatus in Hong Kong's yuan deposit growth has probably become more pronouced since the advent of a landmark stock connect scheme with Shanghai that saw money flow back to China, while a spate dim sum bond issues also has siphoned off yuan funds. Despite the stock connector's lukewarm start, there was a net outflow of 44.7 billion yuan from Hong...