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  • LONDON— Official figures show that retail sales in Britain rose more than anticipated during August, a development that gave the pound a further boost. The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that retail sales during the month rose by 1 percent. The figures contributed to a sharp spike in the value of the pound, as traders think a November interest rate...

  • *Expect annual synergies of 400- 600 million euros. FRANKFURT, Sept 20- Germany's Thyssenkrupp and India's Tata Steel struck a preliminary deal on Wednesday to merge their European steel operations in a 50-50 joint venture to create the continent's No.2 steelmaker after ArcelorMittal. The companies say they need to consolidate to address overcapacity in the...

  • TOKYO, Sept 20- Japan's embattled Toshiba Corp has selected a group led by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital to buy its prized memory chip unit, three people with knowledge of the talks said on Wednesday, a last-minute dramatic twist to a highly contentious auction. Kingston Technology and Seagate Technology Plc are also part of the group.

  • *STOXX 600 flat, Euro zone blue chips down 0.1 pct. *Banks decline ahead of Fed. LONDON, Sept 20- European stocks hovered in cautious trade on Wednesday ahead of a policy decision by the U.S.

  • LONDON, Sept 20- World stocks eked out a new record high on Wednesday and the dollar dipped against its major rivals with the focus on a U.S. European shares opened lower after a slight rise on Asian bourses was enough to push MSCI's World index, which tracks stocks in 46 countries, fractionally higher to a new record. President Donald Trump's bellicose rhetoric...

  • U.S.-BACKED SYRIAN FORCES SAY CAMPAIGN TO CAPTURE RAQQA FROM ISLAMIC STATE IS IN ITS "FINAL STAGES"- STATEMENT.

  • LONDON— Prime Minister Theresa May is urging internet companies to block the spread of extremist material, calling on social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google to develop technologies that will prevent content from being posted in the first place. Britain's leader will focus on the fight against extremist content during a meeting with internet...

  • DUBAI, United Arab Emirates— Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is creating an entertainment investment company as the deeply conservative kingdom loosens the reins on fun. The kingdom's Public Investment Fund announced Wednesday it will develop the new company with an initial capitalization of 10 billion riyals. Its aim will be to provide investment...

  • Sept 20- Hong Kong shares rose on Wednesday, with the benchmark index hovering around 28- month highs, as shares of Chinese metal producers continued to rally. But the raw materials sector jumped nearly 4 percent as commodity prices rose on expectations that China's sweeping anti-pollution campaign would continue to push up prices of metals such as steel,...

  • WASHINGTON— The GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal "Obamacare" would redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal financing for insurance coverage, creating winners and losers among individual Americans and states in ways not yet fully clear. There's only a narrow window for the Senate to act under special budget rules that expire at the end of the...

  • WASHINGTON— With time growing short, President Donald Trump and Republican Senate leaders are engaged in a frantic search for votes in a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace "Obamacare." Would he step back in line with fellow Republicans now that there was a bill co-written by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, his best friend in the Senate?

  • LONDON, Sept 20- Oil rose on Wednesday, set for its largest third-quarter gain in 13 years, after the Iraqi oil minister said OPEC and its partners were considering extending or deepening supply cuts to erode an existing global surplus. "An improving macro-economic backdrop should spur oil demand growth over the next couple of quarters and if OPEC increases its...

  • LONDON, Sept 20- Sterling steadied just above $1.35 on Wednesday, as traders eyed UK retail sales data for their next steer on a currency that has climbed around 6 percent against the dollar in the past four weeks. The pound see-sawed on Tuesday, jumping on a report that Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson could resign before the weekend if his demands over...

  • LONDON, Sept 20- Sterling steadied just above $1.35 on Wednesday, as traders eyed UK retail sales data for their next steer on a currency that has climbed around 6 percent against the dollar in the past four weeks. The pound see-sawed on Tuesday, jumping on a report that Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson could resign before the weekend if his demands over...

  • MADRID— Spanish fashion retailer Inditex, which owns the Zara stores, says its net profit jumped by 9 percent in the first half of its fiscal year, following strong growth in online and in-store sales. Founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega, Inditex operates eight brands including Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull& Bear. Inditex shares were down 2.5 percent at 32 euros in...

  • LONDON, Sept 20- The kiwi dollar was the largest mover among major currencies on Wednesday, rising to a 1-1/ 2 month high after a poll showed New Zealand's ruling National Party has a wide lead over the opposition ahead of a general election at the weekend. Support for New Zealand's National Party jumped 6 points to 46 percent, according to the One News- Colmar Brunton...

  • WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's nominee to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency has for years accepted payments for criticizing studies that raised concerns about the safety of his clients' products, according to a review of financial records and his published work by The Associated Press. Michael L. Dourson's nomination as...

  • JOHANNESBURG, Sept 20- South Africa's Sasol will write off $900 million of debt used to bring in black investors in a 2008 deal that foundered after a fall in oil prices hit its shares, the petrochemicals maker said on Wednesday. The 28 billion rand deal- at the time the biggest so-called "black economic empowerment" transaction in South Africa, was part of corporate...

  • BEIJING, Sept 20- Shanghai aluminum prices on Wednesday hit their highest in nearly six years on a report that Aluminum Corp of China, known as Chinalco, has started cutting production in Henan province almost two months before official winter restrictions kick in. The most-traded aluminum contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange had jumped 3.9 percent, its...

  • MELBOURNE, Sept 20- London aluminum struck its highest in five years on Wednesday on prospects that China's winter production are starting early and will soon pare back stocks of available metal. "For aluminum, certainly this is related to China's winter production cuts," said analyst Helen Lau at broker Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong. China has launched an...