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  • TOKYO, Dec 15- The dollar was on the defensive on Friday after wrangling over a bill to change the U.S. tax code dented confidence, while the euro sagged after the European Central Bank signalled it would maintain stimulus for as long as needed. The greenback was off 0.2 percent at 112.170 yen, having dropped to an eight-day low of 112.065 overnight.

  • *Big manufacturers' sentiment index at plus 25 vs f'cast. TOKYO, Dec 15- Japanese business confidence improved for a fifth straight quarter in the three months to December to hit an 11- year high, a central bank survey showed, a sign the economy is gathering momentum from robust exports and booming corporate profits. Nudging cash-rich firms into spending more on...

  • TOKYO, Dec 15- Japanese stocks fell to more than a week low on Friday morning, with mobile firms extending a sell-off on concerns of increased competition after Rakuten said it aims to become Japan's fourth wireless carrier. Taking the cue from weak U.S. stocks overnight, the Nikkei share average declined 0.7 percent to 22,525.77 in midmorning trade after...

  • MANILA, Dec 15- U.S. soybean futures were steady on Friday, but were on course to post their steepest weekly loss in more than four months on expectations of rains in Argentina, the world's third biggest supplier. *Soybeans for March delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade were flat at $9.68 a bushel, as of 0201 GMT, and have lost 2.2 percent so far this week, the most since...

  • SEOUL, Dec 15- A South Korean blockchain association announced on Friday measures to boost transparency in trading of cryptocurrencies, agreed by 14 exchanges in the country including the world's busiest virtual currency exchange, Bitthumb. The Korea Blockchain Industry Association said in a statement users would only be allowed to trade virtual currency...

  • SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 14- Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar, known for his early bet on Uber Technologies Inc, said on Thursday that he would sever ties with his venture capital company, Sherpa Capital, after being accused of sexual misconduct. Pishevar, who has denied the accusations, said in a statement provided by his lawyer that he was voluntarily leaving...

  • Dec 14- Elliott Management Corp is readying for a new fight with Hess Corp to remedy what the activist hedge fund called on Thursday "continuing underperformance" by the U.S. oil and gas producer. This would be the second time the New York- based investment firm, which owned 6.6 percent of Hess as of Sept. 30 according to Thomson Reuters data, has targeted the company.

  • Dec 14- A U.S. labor board on Thursday overturned an Obama-era ruling that had made it easier for unions and workers to hold companies accountable for practices of contractors and franchisees, a decision welcomed by business groups that could affect a major case against McDonald's Corp. The 3-2 decision by the National Labor Relations Board reversed the...

  • SEOUL, Dec 15- A South Korean blockchain association announced on Friday measures to boost transparency in trading of cryptocurrencies, agreed by 14 exchanges in the country including the world's busiest virtual currency exchange, Bitthumb. The statement added virtual currency exchanges with more than 2 billion won worth in assets would be allowed to...

  • SYDNEY, Dec 15- Copper and aluminium led gainers in Shanghai base metals futures on Friday, helped by overnight increases in the London market on the back of upbeat China manufacturing data. Aluminium was getting a second boost from separate China data showing production for November slumped to 2.35 million tonnes, which was down 7.7 percent from October and...

  • SYDNEY, Dec 15- Copper and aluminum led gainers in Shanghai base metals futures on Friday, helped by overnight increases in the London market on the back of upbeat China manufacturing data. Aluminum was getting a second boost from separate China data showing production for November slumped to 2.35 million tonnes, which was down 7.7 percent from October and the...

  • *Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,253.20 an ounce, as of 0054 GMT, after dipping 0.2 percent in the previous session. *The dollar was on the defensive on Friday after wrangling over a bill to change the U.S. tax code dented confidence, while the euro sagged after the European Central Bank signalled it would maintain stimulus for as long as needed.

  • *OPEC- led supply cuts, Forties pipeline outage support crude. SINGAPORE, Dec 15- Oil markets were stable on Friday as the Forties pipeline outage in the North Sea and the ongoing OPEC- led production cuts supported prices, while rising output from the United States kept crude from rising further. Traders said markets were overall well supported by efforts led by...

  • Earlier this week, the FDA determined additional review time was necessary for Pfizer's application to market Xeljanz as a treatment for ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease. In 2015, the FDA rejected it as a treatment for a scaly skin condition called plaque psoriasis. On Wednesday, Pfizer said it secured an FDA nod for its second biosimilar version of Johnson&...

  • LOS ANGELES— California on Thursday issued its first batch of business licenses for the state's upcoming legal marijuana market, setting the stage for sales to begin in January. "I couldn't be more excited," said Moxie CEO Jordan Lams, who credited "a lot of the stars aligning" for being awarded the first distributor license for recreational pot.

  • TOKYO, Dec 15- The dollar was on the defensive on Friday after wrangling over a bill to change the U.S. tax code dented confidence, while the euro sagged after the European Central Bank signaled it would maintain stimulus for as long as needed. The greenback was off 0.1 percent at 112.315 yen, having dropped to an eight-day low of 112.065 overnight.

  • *Wall Street slumps on concerns about U.S. tax reform bill. TOKYO, Dec 15- Asian shares edged higher on Friday, on track for weekly gains, though sentiment was kept in check by Wall Street's weakness on concerns about the progress of U.S. tax reform. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.04 percent in early trade, poised to gain 1.2 percent...

  • TOKYO— A quarterly business outlook survey by Japan's central bank shows corporate sentiment has improved to its highest level in 11 years in the latest upbeat signal for the economy. The Bank of Japan's "tankan" index for large manufacturers, released Friday, was 25 in December, up from 22 in September. The economy has gathered momentum thanks to a recovery in...

  • *Jan-Nov oil imports from Iran up 36.5 pct from yr ago. SEOUL, Dec 15- South Korea's Iranian crude oil imports in November dropped to the lowest level since June, due to reduced shipments from the Middle Eastern country to Asia affected by its production issues. South Korea's November imports from Iran were around 1.3 million tonnes, or 316,575 barrels per day,...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 14- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission vote on Thursday to roll back net neutrality rules could galvanize young voters, a move Democrats hope will send millennials to the polls in greater numbers and bolster their chances in next year's elections. Democrats are hoping to paint the repeal of the rules by the FCC, which is now chaired by...