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  • LONDON, Feb 18- Sterling drifted higher on Monday after registering three consecutive weeks of losses as investors waited for the outcome of Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to speak to every EU leader and the European Commission chief to seek changes to her EU withdrawal agreement, after another...

  • LONDON, Feb 18- Facebook is "open to meaningful regulation", it said on Monday after British lawmakers said that big technology companies should be subject to a compulsory code of ethics to tackle the spread of fake news and abuse of users' data. "We are open to meaningful regulation and support the committee's recommendation for electoral law reform," said...

  • *FTSE 100 down 0.2 pct. *FTSE 250 down 0.2 pct. *Footasylum jumps after JD Sports takes stake.

  • LONDON, Feb 18- Fresh from touching their highest level in four months on Friday, European stocks rose further in early deals on Monday as investors bet more progress would be made in U.S.- China trade talks continuing in Washington this week. The bank index led the way with a 0.7 percent gain, having risen sharply on Friday after European Central Bank board member...

  • *Euro nudges back above $1.13, still near three-month lows. LONDON, Feb 18- The euro clawed itself back over the $1.13 mark and riskier currencies like the Australian dollar rose on Monday as optimism over a breakthrough in U.S.- China trade war talks boosted investor sentiment at the start of the week. "Generally the mood is still quite positive on the outlook for...

  • LONDON, Feb 18- Euro zone bond yields held near to Friday's closing levels after further dovish comments from ECB officials over the weekend offset the boost to risk sentiment prompted by stronger Asian stock markets on the back of progress in China- U.S. trade talks. ECB policymakers Francois Villeroy de Galhau and Olli Rehn added to dovish comments from...

  • LONDON, Feb 18- British consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter sales growth on Monday, helped by improvements in both its health and home and hygiene businesses. Reckitt, once seen as a pacemaker for growth in the packaged goods industry, has experienced setbacks in the last three years, including a safety...

  • Wirecard last year supplanted German lender Commerzbank on the blue-chip DAX index.

    Germany's financial watchdog Bafin has issued a ban against establishing or increasing short positions in Wirecard stock, citing market uncertainties.

  • Feb 18- Valve maker Spirax-Sarco Engineering Plc said it had started exclusive talks to buy Thermocoax Developpement, a French insulation products maker, for 158 million euros to grow in Europe and the United States. Cheltenham, England- based Spirax said it was talking to Chequers Capital, TCR Capital and other minority shareholders to buy Paris- based...

  • *Rising U.S. output could undermine OPEC efforts. SINGAPORE, Feb 18- Oil prices on Monday hit their highest levels since November last year, lifted by OPEC- led supply cuts, U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, and hopes that the Sino-U.S. trade dispute may soon end. International Brent crude futures were at $66.66 per barrel at 0746 GMT, up 41 cents, or 0.6 percent, from...

  • *Palladium hits all-time high of $1,449 an ounce. Feb 18- Gold prices rose to their strongest level in more than two weeks on Monday as the dollar weakened on hopes the United States and China are nearing a trade deal, while palladium hit a record high. The metal touched $1,325.30 earlier, just below a 9- month peak of $1,326.30 an ounce marked on Jan. 31.

  • BEIJING, Feb 18- Copper prices rose sharply in London and Shanghai on Monday, after strong Chinese lending data improved the metal's demand outlook, and the operator of the world's second-biggest copper mine said its export permit had expired. Copper hit a two-month high in Shanghai despite a big boost in Chinese inventories of the metal over the past two weeks,...

  • *China- related shares up amid Sino-U.S. trade optimism. The Tokyo market got a boost after Wall Street surged on Friday as the United States and China reported progress in five days of negotiations in Beijing last week. "The market is in the process of gradually pricing in the possibility of the March 1 U.S.- China trade negotiation deadline being extended, led by...

  • PARIS, Feb 18- French car parts company Faurecia said on Monday that it hoped to outperform the market in 2019, even though it cautioned it expected automotive production in general to be slightly negative this year. Faurecia, in which Peugeot-maker PSA has a 46 percent stake, reported full year 2018 operating income of 1.27 billion euros, while its operating...

  • TOKYO, Feb 18- Japanese government bond prices were steady to firmer on Monday after the Bank of Japan refrained from trimming its buying, with the benchmark 10- year JGB futures edging near their 2-1/ 2- year high touched last month. The Bank of Japan maintained the size of its JGB purchase in its operation on Monday; and bought four maturities zone- one to three,...

  • *Nikkei rises to 2019 high, China blue chips bounce. SYDNEY, Feb 18- Asian share markets bounced broadly on Monday as investors dared to hope for both progress at Sino-U.S. trade talks in Washington this week and more policy stimulus from major central banks. The Dow and the Nasdaq had boasted their eighth consecutive weekly gains on wagers the United States and...

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 18- China's automobile sales in January tumbled 15.8 percent from a year earlier, the country's top auto industry association said on Monday, as the world's largest auto market hits the skids with the slump in sales extending to the seventh month. China's Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in an emailed statement to Reuters that sales...

  • *Japan must ramp up fiscal spending with BOJ help- ex-BOJ depgov. *Japan must ditch sales tax hike, take steps to boost consumption. TOKYO, Feb 18- Japan must ramp up fiscal spending with debt bank-rolled by the central bank, the Bank of Japan's former deputy governor Kikuo Iwata said, a controversial proposal that highlights the BOJ's challenge as it tries to...

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 18- China stocks jumped on Monday after trade talks between the United States and Beijing saw progress ahead of a March 1 deadline, and new data showed Beijing's attempts to boost investment led to record new loans in January. **China's blue-chip CSI300 index was up 2.11 percent, with its financial sector sub-index higher by 2.01 percent.

  • WELLINGTON, Feb 18- New Zealand said on Monday that it plans to update its laws so it can tax revenue earned by multinational digital firms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, extending a global effort to bring global tech giants into the tax net. Highly digitalised companies, such as those offering social media networks, trading platforms, and online advertising,...