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  • IQOS, which electronically heats tobacco enough to produce a vapor without burning it, is currently in 20 markets, including most notably Japan, and will be in as many as 30 by the end of this year, Philip Morris said on Wednesday. BAT said on Thursday it now had the biggest vapor business in the world outside of the United States and was present in 10 markets, with...

  • PARIS, Feb 23- French waste and water treatment group Suez Environnement is considering making a bid for General Electric's industrial water treatment business, a Suez spokeswoman said on Thursday, confirming media reports. GE Water earns $250- $300 million a year before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Bigger French rival Veolia's chief...

  • LONDON, Feb 23- Oil prices rose on Thursday after U.S. data showed a surprise decline in inventories, suggesting that a global glut may be ending after moves by OPEC to cut production. OPEC and producers including Russia aim to reduce production by around 1.8 million barrels per day in an attempt to drain an oversupply that has kept prices depressed for more than...

  • DUBAI, Feb 23- Syria's state grain buyer has signed contracts with local traders for 1.2 million tonnes of Russian wheat, a government source said, the country's second attempt at a huge wheat deal since October as it tries to secure supplies of the food staple. Syria's state buyer, the General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade, had struck a deal in...

  • LONDON, Feb 23- European shares edged up to near a 14- month high on Thursday, supported by a rally in Barclays and Dialog. "Lower PPI costs and currency tailwinds have helped boost profits at Barclays, while good progress has been made in winding down the bad bank that has been holding the group back," said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

  • *Budapest stocks off record on OTP Bank, Magyar Telekom retreat. *Bucharest stocks at another 9- year high on Banca Transilvania. BUDAPEST, Feb 23- Budapest stocks retreated from record highs on Wednesday, driven by Magyar Telekom which opted against raising its dividend guidance despite a surge in profits, while Central European assets mostly moved sideways.

  • LONDON, Feb 23- The dollar traded close to one-month highs on Thursday, as the lack of a clearer signal from the U.S. It traded in tight ranges against the yen and the euro, moving back above $1.05 against the single currency after a pledge of support for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron from one rival soothed investor nerves about how France's presidential...

  • LONDON, Feb 23- The dollar traded close to one-month highs on Thursday, as the lack of a clearer signal from the U.S. It traded in tight ranges against the yen and the euro, moving back above $1.05 against the single currency after a pledge of support for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron from one rival soothed investor nerves about how France's presidential...

  • LONDON, Feb 23- The dollar traded close to one-month highs on Thursday, as the lack of a clearer signal from the U.S. It traded in tight ranges against the yen and the euro, moving back above $1.05 against the single currency after a pledge of support for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron from one rival soothed investor nerves about how France's presidential...

  • LONDON, Feb 23- The dollar traded close to one-month highs on Thursday, as the lack of a clearer signal from the U.S. It traded in tight ranges against the yen and the euro, moving back above $1.05 against the single currency after a pledge of support for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron from one rival soothed investor nerves about how France's presidential...

  • *Positive results for Relvar Ellipta lung function study in patients with well-controlled asthma. *Patients randomised to FF/VI taken once-daily maintained lung function versus those randomised to twice-daily FP/SAL, meeting study's primary endpoint. *GSK now intends to submit this data to European Medicines Agency.

  • BERLIN, Feb 23- Germany posted a record budget surplus last year helped by rising tax revenues and employment and low debt costs, creating conditions for solid economic growth in 2017 underpinned by higher state and household spending. Under Germany's budget law, the federal government's surplus of 7.7 billion euros will go into a fund for refugee-related...

  • BEIJING, Feb 23- The vice chairman of state-owned People's Insurance Group of China is being investigated for alleged discipline violations the ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog said on Thursday, employing the usual euphemism for corruption. Wang is "suspected of serious violation of discipline," the Central Commission for Discipline...

  • LONDON, Feb 23- Emerging equities powered to fresh 19- month highs on Thursday after U.S. MSCI's benchmark emerging stocks index rose 0.2 percent, with Indian shares up 0.5 percent to hit the highest since March 2015, Turkish stocks up 0.7 percent and Bucharest shares up 0.2 percent at a fresh nine-year high. Hong Kong shares touched a new 5-1/ 2- month high,...

  • BRASILIA, Feb 23- Brazilian miner Vale SA reported on Thursday net profit of $525 million for the fourth quarter, falling short of analyst expectations but reversing a heavy loss in the period a year earlier. A Reuters poll of analysts had forecast net profit of $1.8 billion in the quarter, but the world's largest producer of iron ore fell short on account of...

  • JOHANNESBURG, Feb 23- South Africa's Standard Bank said on Thursday it was engaging with the Competition Commission about an investigation into alleged rigging of rand currency trading and had not suspended any employees to date.

  • *Stocks hold near highs as markets digest Fed minutes. LONDON, Feb 23- World stocks held near record highs on Thursday and the dollar eked out minimal gains after minutes of the latest U.S. That remains a slim prospect, with futures pricing in only an 18 percent chance, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.

  • VANCOUVER, British Columbia _ Taseko Mines Ltd. on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $3.8 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. The Vancouver, British Columbia- based company said it had net income of 1 cent per share. For the year, the company reported that its loss narrowed to $23.7 million, or 11 cents per share.

  • COEUR D`ALENE, Idaho _ Hecla Mining Co. on Thursday reported fourth-quarter net income of $20.3 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the Coeur d`Alene, Idaho- based company said it had profit of 5 cents. The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 5 cents per...

  • WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. _ Chatham Lodging Trust on Wednesday reported a key measure of profitability in its fourth quarter. The real estate investment trust, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, said it had funds from operations of $17 million, or 44 cents per share, in the period. For the current quarter ending in April, Chatham Lodging expects its per-share funds from...