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  • JAKARTA, March 31- U.S. company ConocoPhillips plans to invest around $2.5 billion in Indonesia's upstream oil and gas industry over the next three or four years, the nation's energy minister said on Tuesday. "With our investment in energy today, we've very large pipeline gas producers here in Indonesia and we look forward to continuing our investment in this...

  • SHANGHAI, March 31- Hong Kong shares finished higher on Tuesday following the Chinese central bank's decision to loosen some restrictions on real estate lending. Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index had risen 0.5 percent in the morning, touching a six-month-high, with Hong Kong- listed Chinese companies climbing on signs of fresh money inflows from the...

  • BEIJING, March 31- China is set to start a maiden insurance system for bank deposits from May, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday, a development considered by many analysts to be a crucial financial reform. The insurance system and a fund that banks will have to pay into to finance the protection of depositors will be managed by the central bank,...

  • *A.P. MOLLER-MAERSK down 10 pct on dividend pay. LONDON, March 31- European shares extended gains on Tuesday and headed for their best quarterly performance in several years, with Kingfisher leading the market higher after announcing it planned to sell about 60 B&Q stores in Britain. Shares in Europe's biggest home-improvement retailer were up nearly 5 percent...

  • MELBOURNE, March 31- London nickel tumbled to near six-year lows on Tuesday on the back of momentum selling before cutting losses, but was set to end the month down nearly 10 percent, as record supply and weak stainless steel demand pummelled prices. Nickel prices have nearly halved since hitting two-year highs above $21,000 last May, as an expected supply crunch...

  • DUBLIN, March 31- Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings has sold half of its 5.8 percent stake in Bank of Ireland for more than triple what it paid for it in 2011, a source with knowledge of the deal said, pushing the share price down 6 percent. Bank of Ireland shares were down 6 percent at 36.2 euro cents at 0725 GMT following the sale, which was managed by Deutsche Bank.

  • FOREX-Euro heads for worst quarter on record Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 | 3:43 AM ET

    LONDON, March 31- The euro fell against the dollar on Tuesday, leaving the single currency on track for its worst quarter ever as investors bet on an increasingly divergent monetary policy outlook between the euro zone and the United States. Its losses have been driven by the European Central Bank's launch of a 1.1 trillion euro quantitative easing programme...

  • STOCKHOLM/ TOKYO, March 31- Hedge fund Elliott Management has raised its stake in surveillance camera maker Axis AB, a disclosure notice showed, possibly putting pressure on Japan's Canon Inc to sweeten its 23.6 billion crown takeover bid. Canon, the world's leading camera maker, in February launched a friendly offer to buy Axis shares to expand in the...

  • European shares up, head for best quarter in years Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 | 3:18 AM ET

    LONDON, March 31- European shares edged higher in early trading on Tuesday and headed for their best quarterly performance in several years, with Kingfisher leading the market higher following its plans to sell about 60 B&Q stores in Britain. Shares in Europe's biggest home improvement retailer were up 4.6 percent after the announcement of store closure...

  • SHANGHAI, March 31- China stocks shed early gains and fell on Tuesday, snapping a three-day winning streak as some investors who front-ran Beijing's property easing policies dumped shares to lock in profit. Among the most active stocks in Shanghai were China State Construction, down 3.3 percent to 7.68 yuan; Bank of China, down 1.6 percent to 4.39 yuan and...

  • Russian rouble moves lower at market opening Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 | 3:08 AM ET

    MOSCOW, March 31- Russia's rouble opened weaker against both the dollar and the euro on Tuesday, hurt by declining oil prices and no longer supported by end-of-month tax payments. At 0705 GMT, the rouble was around 0.5 percent weaker against the dollar at 57.90 and lost 0.2 percent to trade at 62.41 versus the euro. For rouble poll data see.

  • *FACTBOX on Iran oil sanctions. DUBAI/ NEW DELHI/ HONG KONG, March 31- A possible surge in Iranian oil exports from an end to sanctions will reboot a struggle between top Middle East producers for Asian buyers, with Iraq looking the most vulnerable. Under sanctions Iran became adept at offering discounts, easy credit and free shipping to keep in the game, recalling...

  • *Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei shares to rise through 2015. BENGALURU, March 31- Shares in China and other East Asian markets will extend their rally this year, buoyed by additional policy easing expected from Beijing and other regional central banks, a Reuters poll showed. "mainland government has shown a clear attitude in supporting the stock market as it is a...

  • SHANGHAI, March 31- As stock market investors cheer Beijing's latest bid to boost the country's ailing housing sector, Chinese bankers are gritting their teeth over the risks they face in further relaxing lending rules to home buyers. The hope is that by allowing buyers to get mortgages more easily, China can revive the housing market, which accounts for 15...

  • *Gold slips for third session, nearly flat on quarter. SINGAPORE, March 31- Gold edged lower on Tuesday and was heading for a second straight monthly fall, pressured by expectations the U.S. "Gold's inability to hold over the psychological $1,200 level, which it recently cleared, suggests that bullion may be susceptible to a further consolidation of gains," said HSBC...

  • Vietnam hit by rare strike at major footwear factory Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 | 2:44 AM ET

    HANOI, March 31- Thousands of workers at a major factory in southern Vietnam went on strike for a fifth day on Tuesday in protest over social insurance cover, in rare show of labour unrest in a country positioning itself as a future Asian manufacturing powerhouse. Witnesses in the industrialised suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City said hundreds of workers massed...

  • Faurecia forms joint venture with China's Dongfeng Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 | 2:40 AM ET

    PARIS, March 31- France's Faurecia on Tuesday said it had agreed to form a joint-venture with Dongfeng Motor Corporation with the objective of generating annual sales of around 2 billion euros in the medium term.

  • TOKYO, March 31- Japan's Nikkei share average dropped on Tuesday, shedding early gains as investors took profits on the last trading day of the quarter. "Since it was the last day of the fiscal year, derivatives investors unwound their long positions on stocks, while such domestic investors as pension funds were reluctant to buy," said Kyoya Okazawa, head of global...

  • TOKYO, March 31- Asian purchases of Iranian crude fell by a quarter in February from a year ago, led by big drops in India and South Korea, although the future of Tehran's oil exports remains murky as it and six world powers race to reach a preliminary nuclear deal. Imports by Iran's four biggest buyers- China, India, Japan and South Korea- though down on-year, bounced...

  • *Iran negotiations enter last 24 hours. SINGAPORE, March 31- Oil futures extended losses on Tuesday, as Iran and six world powers ramped up the pace of negotiations to reach a preliminary deal that could ease sanctions and allow more Iranian crude onto world markets. With a deadline less than 24 hours away, United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China were...