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  • *Swiss franc& yen well bid as China worries fester. *China industrial production and retail sales data eyed. "We expect modest downside surprises, which are likely to keep sentiment toward China somewhat negative," analysts at Barclays Capital wrote in a note to clients.

  • NEW YORK, March 12- Attorneys for five former aides of convicted swindler Bernard Madoff wrapped up nearly 20 hours of closing arguments on Wednesday, capping their courtroom campaign to convince a federal jury that their clients never knowingly joined in their boss's Ponzi scheme.

  • NEW YORK, March 12- A former partner at Grant Thornton was sentenced to 4-1/ 2 years in prison on Wednesday for stealing nearly $4 million from the accounting firm. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan said such a sentence would send the wrong message, saying punishment was needed in a case characterized by Haber's "greed."

  • March 12- Citigroup Inc has reduced the annual compensation high-ranking executive Manuel Medina-Mora following problems with controls at the Mexico subsidiary he oversees. Medina-Mora, 63 and co-president of Citigroup, was paid $9.5 million in total compensation for 2013, according to a proxy statement filed by the company on Wednesday.

  • WASHINGTON, March 12- There will be no delay in the penalty most Americans face under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law if they fail to obtain health coverage this year, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Wednesday.

  • WASHINGTON, March 12- A U.S. "Whatever business model you want to use is perfectly fine with us, as long as it is not a business model that is entirely based on conflicts of interest," said Phyllis Borzi, the assistant secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, in remarks at an event held by the Financial Services Roundtable.

  • *Senate, House say criminal investigation could complicate their probes. DETROIT/ WASHINGTON, March 12- General Motors Co said on Wednesday that even after the vehicles in its ignition-switch recall are repaired, owners should avoid weighing down their key rings with anything more than the key and fob.

  • March 12- Leju Holdings Ltd, a China- based operator of real estate websites, filed with U.S. regulators on Wednesday to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering of its common shares. Leju, a unit of E-House China Holdings Ltd, offers real estate e-commerce and online advertising and listing services in China.

  • *State-controlled Sberbank postpones investment conference. MOSCOW, March 12- Russia's largest bank Sberbank has postponed one of the country's highest profile investment conferences due to volatility stemming from the situation in Ukraine, the bank said on Wednesday.

  • March 12- The number of U.S. cattle deaths that may be linked to the Merck& Co Inc feed additive Zilmax are much higher than the figures reported by the drug company to the federal government, according to a research study published on Wednesday.

  • March 12- Doughnut retailer and wholesaler Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc raised its full-year earnings per share forecast and said it would buy back $30 million more of its shares.

  • *Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac shares fall on Senate proposal for wind-down. NEW YORK, March 12- U.S. stocks finished little changed on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq up for the first session in five, as investors grappled with the evolving situation in Ukraine but shrugged off concern over weakness in China's economy.

  • NEW YORK, March 12- New York's Albany County on Wednesday issued a moratorium on the expansion of crude oil processing in the Port of Albany, pending a public health investigation.

  • *China's first domestic bond default creates jitters. NEW YORK, March 12- World stock indexes declined for a fourth day and copper dipped to near four-year lows before rebounding on Wednesday as worries about China's economic slowdown intensified.

  • Australia's iron ore miners hang tough as prices fall Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 | 5:00 PM ET

    PERTH, March 13- If Australian miners are worried about the dramatic decline in iron ore prices, it doesn't show. "Iron ore mining isn't tennis, it's a contact sport," said David Flanagan, chairman of Atlas Iron Ltd. "Sometimes it hurts a bit, like you copped it in the stomach.

  • Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology Co Ltd failed last Friday to pay an 89 million yuan interest payment on a 1- billion-yuan, five-year bond it issued in 2012.. "The marketisation of defaults constitutes progress," said Chen Dongming, chief credit officer at China Lianhe Rating Co Ltd in Beijing.

  • NSA "hijacked" criminal botnets to install spyware Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 | 5:00 PM ET

    SAN FRANCISCO, March 12- While U.S. law enforcement agencies have long tried to stamp out networks of compromised computers used by cyber criminals, the National Security Agency has been hijacking the so-called botnets as a resource for spying.

  • NEW YORK, March 12- Over the next decade, Wall Street banks will cut in half the proportion of support staff they have in pricey cities like New York and London and shift those workers to less expensive cities in the developing world, according to a projection by consulting firm Johnson Associates Inc..

  • NEW YORK, March 12- Puerto Rico's newly issued bonds rallied on Wednesday, a day after investors flocked to the high returns offered by the cash-strapped U.S. territory's $3.5 billion debt sale.

  • March 12- Herbalife Ltd said on Wednesday that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission had opened an inquiry into its operations, news that briefly sent the nutrition and weight loss company's share price down more than 16 percent.