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  • Feb 18- U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday, fresh on the heels of a three-day rally, as oil prices continued to rise. *Brent crude prices were up 2.5 percent, rising for the second straight day after Iran supported plans to freeze output and a report showed a surprise drop in U.S. inventory. *Wall Street closed up on Wednesday, led by energy shares, with the S&P...

  • *European shares rise 0.1 percent but FTSE slides 0.7 pct. LONDON, Feb 18- A four-day rally in world stocks cooled in Europe on Thursday, as oil prices steadied and nerves set in ahead of crunch talks between EU leaders aimed at keeping Britain in the 28- member bloc. London's FTSE lead the way down with a 0.7 percent fall as its miners dipped in tandem with oil and the...

  • JOHANNESBURG, Feb 18- South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan must juggle the conflicting demands of voters and credit rating agencies next week in his first budget since he returned to the post, charged with restoring confidence in the nation's economic management. With South Africa threatened by ratings downgrades to "junk" status, presenting the...

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- Japanese government bond prices firmed on Thursday, helped by a fall in short-term interest rates following the start of the Bank of Japan's negative interest rates as well as demand from foreign investors. The yield on the benchmark 10- year JGBs fell 3.0 basis points to 0.015 percent, edging back near zero, with bonds of up to nine-and-a-half years...

  • BRASILIA, Feb 17- Standard& Poor's downgraded Brazil's credit rating deeper into junk territory on Wednesday, citing its failure to curb its fiscal deficit, in a surprise blow to President Dilma Rousseff`s bid to haul the economy out of its worst recession in decades. S&P cut Brazil's sovereign credit rating to BB from BB+ with a negative outlook, just five months...

  • NEW YORK, Feb 17- U.S. Still the minutes for the Federal Reserve's Jan. 26-27 meeting reminded investors the current market turmoil was severe enough to cause policy-makers to reconsider their planned path on rate increases. Companies raised $22 billion in the high-grade bond market on Tuesday, according to IFR, a unit of Thomson Reuters.

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 17- Apple has issued $1.5 billion in bonds dedicated to financing clean energy projects across its global business operations, the largest green bond to be issued by a U.S. corporation, the company's head of environmental policy said Wednesday. Moody's Investor Services said earlier this month it expects to see the issuance of green bonds rise...

  • BRASILIA, Feb 17- Standard& Poor's downgraded Brazil's credit rating deeper into junk territory on Wednesday, highlighting the challenges facing President Dilma Rousseff, who is trying to regain investors' trust and pull Latin America's largest economy out of recession. S&P cut Brazil's sovereign credit rating to BB from BB+ with a negative outlook, just five...

  • NEW YORK, Feb 17- Investors in U.S.-based mutual funds pulled $729 million from taxable-bond funds in the latest week, adding a 14th consecutive week to the investments' streak of withdrawals as corporate-credit markets tightened on global recession fears. Taxable-bond funds have lost a total of $57 billion over that quarter-year of outflows, led by...

  • NEW YORK, Feb 17- A top portfolio manager at BlackRock Inc said his fund recently added exposure to European junk bonds, adding that "widespread pessimism" in markets has created new investment opportunities. The European high-yield market has grown attractive in part because of its limited exposure to volatile energy companies, according to Michael...

  • BLACKROCK MULTI-ASSET FUND MANAGER MICHAEL FREDERICKS SAYS RECENTLY ADDED EXPOSURE TO EUROPEAN HIGH-YIELD BONDS.

  • NEW YORK, Feb 17- U.S. Treasury prices fell on Wednesday, with benchmark yields rising to their highest levels in 1-1/ 2 weeks, as gains on Wall Street stocks and encouraging data on producer prices and factory production reduced the appeal of low-yielding bonds. "The oil market's reversal higher has caused the tone to change, reviving appetite for risky assets and...

  • LONDON, Feb 17- Eastern Europe was helping to support emerging market stocks on Wednesday, as heightened tension between Ankara and Moscow over Syria pushed Turkish bond yields to four-and-half-month highs. MSCI's 23- emerging country equity index was back to almost flat by 1000 GMT as a 1.8 percent jump in its eastern Europe markets helped offset falls in...

  • TOKYO, Feb 17- The curve on the Japanese government bonds flattened on Wednesday as yields of longer-dated bonds fell more than others following a regular debt-buying operation by the central bank. Treasuries and on caution ahead of Thursday's 2.5 trillion yen five-year auction. Japan's Nikkei fell more than 2 percent and helped curb losses by shorter-dated...

  • BRASILIA/ SAO PAULO, Feb 16- Brazilian state-run lenders are considering converting part or all of their outstanding loans to Petróleo Brasileiro SA into equity in a bid to help the embattled oil producer, two sources familiar with the plan told Reuters on Tuesday. After repeatedly denying the possibility of a bailout, President Dilma Rousseff in January for...

  • NEW YORK, Feb 16- Puerto Rico's Senate on Tuesday passed a bill aimed at overhauling the island's troubled power utility PREPA, pushing the agency a step closer to finalizing a deal with creditors to restructure more than $8 billion debt. The Senate approved the bill, with amendments made by the island's House of Representatives, which passed it on Monday.

  • NEW YORK, Feb 16- Argentina has reached a deal with lawyers pursuing a U.S. class action lawsuit over defaulted debt to resolve the case, as part of the country's efforts to settle long-running litigation over its 2002 default, a court-appointed mediator said Tuesday. Daniel Pollack, a New York lawyer overseeing the settlement talks, said the agreement in...

  • NEW YORK, Feb 16- Argentina has reached a deal with lawyers pursuing a U.S. class action lawsuit over defaulted debt to resolve the case, as part of the country's efforts to settle long-running litigation over its 2002 default, a court-appointed mediator said Tuesday. Daniel Pollack, a New York lawyer overseeing the settlement talks, said the agreement in...

  • NEW YORK, Feb 16- U.S. Treasury debt prices fell on Tuesday as a rally in Wall Street stocks and competing corporate bond supply led by Apple trimmed safe-haven demand for bonds, lifting benchmark yields further from their near 3-1/ 2- year lows set last week. Tuesday's weaker-than-forecast data on business activity in New York state and home builder sentiment...

  • LONDON, Feb 16- Reports of the death of bond market liquidity may have been exaggerated, a senior Central Bank of Ireland official said on Tuesday in a riposte to bankers calling for an easing of regulations. "We can't draw any conclusions here about market liquidity that would lead us to thinking that we need to do something," Martin Moloney, head of markets policy at...