However, RSA Insurance slumped 17 percent as its Chief Executive Simon Lee resigned after the insurer warned of a fall in 2013 earnings and flagged a possible hit to the dividend from a capital hole at its Irish business. PSA Peugeot Citroen fell 9.8 percent after General Motors announced the sale of its entire 7 percent stake in the French carmaker.» Read More
*HSI +0.4 pct; CSI300 flat, Shanghai -0.2 pct. *HSI set for Oct gain, CSI300, Shanghai to post monthly loss. HONG KONG, Oct 31- Hong Kong shares bounced off a near two-week low, buoyed by strength in Chinese banks after the largest, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, posted third-quarter earnings that beat expectations.
*Power outages, flooding hit U.S. East Coast after Sandy. SINGAPORE, Oct 31- Brent crude held steady near $109 a barrel on Wednesday after the huge storm Sandy whiplashed the U.S. East Coast, reducing fuel demand even as refineries in the region gradually resumed operation.
*Three major New York area airports still closed. *JFK, Newark to resume limited services Wednesday.
Oct 31- The best medical innovations for next year include an almond-size device that's implanted in the mouth to relieve severe headaches and a hand-held scanner resembling a blow dryer that detects skin cancer, the Cleveland Clinic said on Wednesday. A study, led by Cleveland Clinic head of Bariatric and Metabolic Institute Dr.
*MSCI Asia ex- Japan up 0.3 pct, Nikkei gains 1.4 pct. The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent, off a two-week low hit on Tuesday. ``The U.S. has been closed two nights but Europe's been okay so there are no real negatives at this stage,'' said Winston Sammut, investment director at Maxim Asset Management in Sydney.
*Spot gold may rebound to $1,730/ oz- technicals.
HONG KONG, Oct 31- China's top four banks are on course for their weakest annual profit growth since going public, as the central bank's interest rate cuts in the middle of the year kick in, slicing lending margins.
*Concerns over Apple's long-term growth capped Hon Hai's share rise-analyst. TAIPEI, Oct 31- Shares of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry jumped on Wednesday after the main manufacturer of Apple Inc's products posted a sharp rise in quarterly net profit, boosted by new gadget launches by the California giant.
TOKYO, Oct 31- Japanese fund managers pushed their allocation for euro zone bonds to the highest level in 10 months as yields stabilised, but pulled their overall exposure to bonds down from last month's record high as risk appetite picked up, a Reuters poll showed.
TOKYO, Oct 31- Japanese fund managers pushed their allocation for euro zone bonds to the highest level in 10 months as yields stabilised, but cut their overall exposure to bonds from last month's record high as risk appetite revived, a Reuters poll found.
SINGAPORE, Oct 31- Gold edged up on Wednesday but was still poised to end a four-month winning streak with the biggest one-month decline since May, as investors awaited an important U.S. employment report.
LONDON, Oct 31- British academic researchers have secured 7 million pounds of funding from the country's Medical Research Council to investigate a range of potential new drugs made available free-of-charge by AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca did initial tests on these chemicals but then put them on hold for a variety of reasons.
Oct 30- Hurricane Sandy has silenced the thousands of slot machines and high-rollers who normally crowd the black jack and roulette tables of Atlantic City, but the resort's casino companies wager they could be back in business within days.
MILAN, Oct 30- Fiat SpA sharply cut its performance targets for the next two years, saying languishing sales in austerity-hit Europe may lop off a third of its previous projections for 2014 trading profit.
Oct 30- Hospital operator Community Health Systems Inc reported third-quarter profit that exceeded analysts' estimates, but it trimmed its full-year profit forecast due to higher interest expense and a delayed payment from a California Medicaid program.
TOKYO, Oct 31- Japan's Nikkei share average was seen moving higher on Wednesday after losing 1 percent on profit-taking a day earlier when the Bank of Japan eased monetary policy in line with expectations. ``Since the reaction to the BOJ was fully priced in yesterday, I think we should bounce back today,'' said Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex. ``The index should be steady, with some small gains, although there's a lack of incentives because the U.S. wasn't open.'' Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,850 to 8,950 on Wednesday.
*NYSE, Nasdaq OMX testing trading systems on Tuesday. NYSE Euronext said the New York Stock Exchange would open as usual, although it was prepared to switch to fully electronic trading if necessary. ``We have a green light,'' the chief operating officer of NYSE Euronext, Larry Leibowitz, said in an interview.
NEW YORK, Oct 30- As residents and businesses clean up from one of the worst storms to hit the U.S. East Coast in memory, investors are preparing for the stock market reaction by betting on or against insurers, casino companies and home improvement stores.
LOS ANGELES, Oct 30- Walt Disney Co agreed to buy filmmaker George Lucas's Lucasfilm Ltd and its ``Star Wars'' franchise for $4.05 billion in cash and stock, a b lockbuster deal that includes the surprise promise of a new film in the series in 2015..