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  • LONDON, Feb 18- European shares rose on Wednesday, led by southern European indexes on fresh optimism that Greece would reach an agreement with its international lenders. Shares in debt-laden Italy and Spain, which were seen as coming under market pressure if Greece were to leave the euro zone, outperformed. "Greece is driving the market today," a senior trader in...

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- Sony Corp aims to boost its operating profit 25- fold within three years by focusing on its more profitable image sensors, videogame and entertainment businesses, its chief executive said on Wednesday. Outlining his strategy for the loss-making Japanese consumer electronics icon to 2018, CEO Kazuo Hirai said Sony wanted to give its...

  • The impact of the firming oil price has helped to offset the situation in eastern Ukraine, where heavy fighting is continuing despite last week's peace deal in Minsk. The United Nations Security Council backed the Minsk agreement overnight, calling for an immediate end to fighting, but Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian troops in the...

  • *Japan ended Indonesia imports about 10 yrs ago on bird-flu worry. JAKARTA, Feb 18- Indonesian poultry suppliers are weeks away from making their first exports of processed chicken to Japan in a decade, an endorsement of quality that will boost the Southeast Asian nation's push into a regional market dominated by Thailand. Hit by scares over chicken meat safety...

  • MOSCOW, Feb 18- Severstal, one of Russia's largest steel producers, said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter net loss had widened to $795 million from a loss of $45 million in the previous quarter due to non-cash items. Without the non-cash items- a foreign exchange loss and an impairment charge- the company would have posted a net profit of $534 million in the fourth...

  • *BOJ keeps massive stimulus intact. TOKYO, Feb 18- Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Wednesday he saw no immediate need to expand monetary stimulus again with inflation heading up towards his 2 percent target-despite temporary pressure from slumping oil prices. Kuroda made the remarks after the BOJ, as widely expected, maintained its stimulus...

  • BENGALURU, INDIA, Feb 18- India's prime minister has asked global defence contractors to transfer more technology to the country as part of the lucrative deals that they win to modernise its armed forces. The country's offsets policy, which requires contractors to invest a percentage of the value of the deal in India, will be tweaked to encourage more technology...

  • MOSCOW, Feb 18- Severstal, one of Russia's largest steel producers, said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter net loss had widened to $795 million from a loss of $45 million in the previous quarter due to non-cash items.

  • MOSCOW, Feb 18- Russia's Rosneft, the world's top listed oil company by output, said on Wednesday its hydrocarbon reserve replacement ratio under SEC classification was at 154 percent last year.

  • Russian rouble opens higher on Wednesday Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 | 2:05 AM ET

    MOSCOW, Feb 18- The Russian rouble opened stronger against the dollar and euro on Wednesday.

  • JGBs dip on weak U.S. bond, yield curve flattens Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 | 1:46 AM ET

    TOKYO, Feb 18- Japanese Government Bond prices weakened on Wednesday, tracking softer U.S. bonds, but the longest maturities fared better on bargain-hunting by Japanese investors, flattening the yield curve. The price of 10- year JGB futures dipped 0.21 point to 147.02, though they stayed above a 2-1/ 2- month low of 146.69 hit on Monday. The market showed no...

  • KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18- Malaysian state fund 1 MDB said it would explore asset sales as well as the sale of development rights in prime property projects as it seeks to cut down on debt- a burden that has put pressure on the ringgit and the country's sovereign credit rating. The strategic review is new CEO Arul Kanda's attempt to make a break with years of controversy...

  • *Trading thin in Asia at start of Lunar New Year holiday. SINGAPORE, Feb 18- Oil prices dipped on Wednesday after gaining more than a percent in the previous session, but trading was thin as several Asian countries started the Lunar New Year holidays which last for the rest of the week. Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 29 cents at $62.24 a barrel by 0520 GMT,...

  • U.S. Architecture Billings Index falls in January Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 | 12:00 AM ET

    Feb 18- The Architecture Billings Index, an indicator of U.S. non-residential building activity, fell in January, the American Institute of Architects said on Tuesday. The index fell to 49.9 in January from 52.6 in December. "This easing in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market over the past nine months," AIA Chief...

  • If history is a guide, then this is a safe bet, with state-controlled behemoth Coal India consistently failing to meet output targets and battling to supply enough fuel for the South Asian nation's electricity generators. The new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown some determination to reform India's vast coal sector, starting with making...

  • *China raises initial 2015 oil product export quotas by 20 pct. China controls oil product exports through quotas to state-run refiners after assessing domestic needs. This year Sinopec Corp, CNOOC Ltd and PetroChina were given an oil product export quota of 9.75 million tonnes, up about 20 percent from the initial limit set for 2014, industry sources with...

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- Bolstered by investors' faith in its restructuring, Sony Corp is set to announce a new strategy highlighting the potential of its image sensors, PlayStation and entertainment businesses to help it return to growth after years of losses. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai is due to detail his multi-year plan for Sony from around 0600 GMT on Wednesday.

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- Bolstered by investors' faith in its restructuring, Sony Corp is set to announce a new strategy highlighting the potential of its image sensors, PlayStation and entertainment businesses to help it return to growth after years of losses. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai is due to detail his multi-year plan for Sony from around 0600 GMT on Wednesday.

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- Asian equities tracked a mild bounce on Wall Street, edging higher on Wednesday as pessimism about the Greek debt saga receded somewhat, while the dollar strengthened against the yen thanks to higher U.S. debt yields. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent with South Korean, Thai and Indonesian bourses all...

  • *Investors hope Greece, EU will agree on extending bailout. TOKYO/ SINGAPORE, Feb 18- The euro held steady on Wednesday, finding some support as investors held on to hopes that Greece will find enough common ground with its euro zone partners and avoid a chaotic exit from the currency union. Although Greece rejected a proposal to request a six-month extension of its...