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Wires

  • *Speculators cut net gold longs in the week to Feb. 13. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,347.50 an ounce. The metal rose 2.4 percent last week in its best weekly gain in more than five months, as investors bought gold on fears of rising inflation in the United States.

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 19- China's tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd, worth a combined $1 trillion, are on a retail investment binge, forcing merchants to choose sides amid a battle for shoppers' digital wallets. They have to take a side, "said Jason Yu, Shanghai- based General Manager of market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

  • SEOUL, Feb 19- South Korean President Moon Jae- in said on Monday General Motors Co's decision to shut down a factory south of Seoul will hurt that region, and called upon his administration to take measures to boost economic activity there. GM announced last week it will shutter the plant in the city of Gunsan, in South Korea's southwest, by May and decide within...

  • For now, the spotlight turned to Greece where on Friday Fitch upgraded Greece's long-term rating to' B' from' B-' and kept its outlook positive. Sentiment has been boosted by expectations that Greece will exit it latest bailout in August and get debt relief from its international creditors. "Greece's ratings story is on track and strongly supported by progress in...

  • LONDON, Feb 19- British consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser missed 2017 profit expectations and said tough trading in developed markets and rising commodity costs were set to continue, hitting its shares. It pointed to an improved performance at its recently acquired Mead Johnson baby formula business, and raised its forecast for cost savings from that...

  • *Euro slips but holds close to $1.24. LONDON, Feb 19- The dollar enjoyed a small rebound on Monday as investors bought back the greenback following its plunge to three-year lows. The U.S. currency has been hurt by a variety of factors this year, including concerns that Washington might pursue a weak dollar strategy and the perceived erosion of its yield advantage as...

  • DUBAI, Feb 19- Gulf stock markets barely moved early on Monday although a dividend cut pulled down major Abu Dhabi- listed financial firm Waha Capital. The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.2 percent as Waha, which had been trading near 10- month highs, pulled back 4.1 percent. Saudi Arabia's index was flat after an hour but Saudi Industrial Export, which deals in bulk...

  • The educational push in China goes beyond what Lego does in other markets, in part a nod to the country's disciplined focus on learning but also a reflection of how the market is booming in importance as growth in the United States and Europe slows. The focus on learning, in a market notorious for its rigid exam-oriented education system and piles of homework,...

  • FDA approves Imfinzi for stage III lung cancer. LONDON, Feb 19- AstraZeneca's immunotherapy drug Imfinzi has won crucial approval from U.S. regulators for use in lung cancer, opening up a multibillion-dollar market for a medicine that has so far lagged behind competitors. Deutsche Bank analyst Richard Parkes said the FDA okay came around one month earlier than...

  • THE HAGUE, Netherlands— Dutch budget carrier Transavia has canceled or delayed dozens of flights because of a strike by pilots angry at the lack of progress in months of negotiations toward a new collective labor agreement. Transavia, part of the Air France KLM group, posted an online list of the service disruptions, which are expected to last until noon Monday.

  • MILWAUKEE— An original Pablo Picasso print worth up to an estimated $50,000 was stolen from a downtown Milwaukee art gallery. WITI-TV reports appraiser Bill DeLind says his business partner noticed the original 1949 print was missing from DeLind Fine Art Appraisals on Friday. Milwaukee police confirm a report was filed for the stolen painting.

  • OSLO, Feb 19- Aker Energy AS, controlled by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, has agreed to buy Hess Corporation's Ghana unit in a $100 million deal and plans to launch production from its first oilfield there in 2021, it said on Monday. Aker Energy aims to build a significant exploration and production business in the country together with the Ghana...

  • *Some focus turns to Israel- Iran tensions. TOKYO, Feb 19- Oil prices extended gains to hit their highest level in nearly two weeks on Monday, buoyed as Asian shares joined a global recovery in equity markets and as worries grew over tensions in the Middle East. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its...

  • Casino, whose credit rating was cut to junk by Standard& Poor's in March 2016, is under pressure to revive profits in France, its biggest market, where it now makes more than 50 percent of its sales, at a time of slower growth in Brazil, its second-biggest market by revenue. "By acquiring Sarenza and its expertise, Casino Group will consolidate its position as French...

  • OSLO, Feb 19- Aker Energy AS, controlled by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, has agreed to buy Hess Corporation's Ghana unit in a $100 million deal and plans to launch production from its first oilfield there in 2021, it said on Monday. Aker ASA, Roekke's main listed investment vehicle, owns 50 percent of Aker Energy, while TRG, his privately held holding...

  • SEOUL, Feb 19- South Korean President Moon Jae- in said on Monday General Motors Co's decision to shut down a factory south of Seoul will be a blow to the region and asked relevant government ministries to take measures to shore up economic activity there. Moon also asked his government to act sternly in trade talks with the United States, expressing worry over...

  • NEW DELHI, Feb 19- Indian manufacturers of graphite electrodes used in electric arc furnaces are booming on the back of China's pollution crackdown, but soaring prices have set the companies on a collision course with government and steelmakers. In an unusual intervention, India's steel ministry is pushing for electrode makers to cut prices for smaller...

  • SEOUL, South Korea— Asian markets were higher on Monday following Wall Street gains last week, as investors' jitters showed signs of easing. The Tokyo benchmark was just 2.7 percent lower than the year's start, recouping much of its losses earlier this month during a global rout. ANALYST'S TAKE: "For the most part, Asia markets look to take after the positive U.S. lead...

  • LONDON, Feb 19- It's the burning question in the oil industry: when will Saudi Arabia pull the trigger on the Aramco stock market listing? The Riyadh government is carefully analysing the future price curve structure in oil markets because it regards prices further out as an important element in achieving a high valuation in what could be the biggest initial...

  • MELBOURNE, Feb 19- London metals started the week lower on Monday as a resurgent dollar dragged down prices from one-month highs hit the session before, while the Lunar New Year holidays reduced liquidity. *COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had slipped 0.8 percent to $7,189 a tonne by 0628 GMT, erasing small gains from the previous session when prices hit the...