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Wires

  • MELBOURNE, Feb 23- London copper prices eased on Friday and were heading for a small weekly drop as the dollar strengthened, but the outlook for demand looked bright due to healthy global economic growth. *COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had eased by 0.2 percent to $7,150 a tonne by 0708 GMT, after logging a small gain in the previous session.

  • ZURICH, Feb 23- Swiss Re reported better-than-expected 2017 net income on Friday despite huge claims during a disaster-heavy 2017 and ruled out a capital increase to ease an investment approach from Japan's SoftBank that it was weighing. The world's second-biggest reinsurer posted net profit of $331 million, down from $3.56 billion a year earlier, but...

  • SEOUL, Feb 23- General Motors Co will propose a base wage freeze and no bonuses this year along with a suspension of some worker benefits at its money-losing South Korean unit to cut costs, according to an internal letter that Reuters reviewed on Friday. GM is bracing for a major showdown with its South Korean unionized workers, after the U.S. automaker announced...

  • TOKYO, Feb 23- Tokyo stocks rose on Friday in light trade as receding fears of more aggressive U.S. interest rate hikes boosted sentiment, with defensive shares such as construction and utilities outperforming. The benchmark Nikkei ended 0.7 percent higher at 21,892.78. For the week, it was up 0.8 percent, rising for two straight weeks.

  • *Mixed signals elsewhere-- E-Mini futures up, FTSE futures down. SYDNEY, Feb 23- Asian shares rebounded on Friday as comments from a Federal Reserve official eased worries about faster rate rises in the United States, while the dollar ticked higher as investors dipped their toes back into riskier assets. Indications were mixed for other global equity markets, with...

  • *Turkmenistan will use pipeline to supply Pakistan, India. SERHETABAT, Turkmenistan, Feb 23- Turkmenistan on Friday announced the start of construction work on the Afghan section of an $8 billion natural gas pipeline that will link the energy-rich Central Asian nation to Pakistan and India. The TAPI project, supported by the United States and the Asian...

  • *India needs to do more to lower trade barriers: U.S. govt. NEW DELHI, Feb 23- U.S. businesses and diplomats are pressing India to cut tariffs, industry and government sources say, after New Delhi's move to increase customs duties on dozens of products to help its flagship Make-in- India drive aggravated differences over trade. India and the United States have built...

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 23- Oil prices dipped on Friday as high U.S. crude exports outweighed lower crude inventories in the world's biggest consumer of the fuel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $62.70 a barrel at 0602 GMT, down 7 cents from their last settlement. Friday's dips followed bigger price rises the previous day when the Energy Information...

  • LINCOLN, Neb.— The nation's largest privately-owned bank holding company and a major car rental chain said Thursday they will stop promotions aimed at National Rifle Association members. The Nebraska- based First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract to issue the group's NRA Visa Card, spokesman Kevin Langin said in a statement.

  • *Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui prosecuted. BEIJING/ SHANGHAI, Feb 23- The Chinese government on Friday seized control of Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd and said its chairman had been prosecuted, a dramatic move that highlighted Beijing's willingness to curtail big-spending conglomerates as it cracks down on financial risk. Wu was arrested in June as troubles...

  • HOUSTON, Feb 23- U.S. oil production has topped 10 million barrels per day, approaching a record set in 1970, but many investors in the companies driving the shale oil revolution are still waiting for their payday. Wall Street's patience ran out late last year as investors called for producers to shift more cash to dividends and share buybacks.

  • KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23- Malaysia's Felda Global Ventures Bhd, the world's third biggest palm plantation operator, on Friday said net profits for the last quarter fell by a third year-on-year. FGV saw net profits of 76.6 million ringgit for the quarter that ended in December, down from 112 million ringgit the previous year, it said in a local stock exchange filing...

  • *Kerr Neilson to step down as Platinum CEO on July 1. SYDNEY, Feb 23- Global stock picker Kerr Neilson, dubbed " Australia's Warren Buffett," said he will step down as chief executive officer of listed fund manager Platinum Investment Management, sending its shares almost 12 percent lower. Bill Gross's abrupt departure from United States asset manager PIMCO in 2014...

  • DUBAI, United Arab Emirates— Djibouti has seized control of a container terminal run by Dubai- based port operator DP World, the latest move in a long-running legal dispute in the East African nation over the facility. DP World issued a statement late Thursday night acknowledging that Djibouti authorities seized the Doraleh Container Terminal.

  • BEIJING— Asian stocks advanced Friday after Wall Street rebounded from a two-day losing streak and Japanese inflation edged higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.8 percent to 31.226. 61 and Seoul's Kospi rose 1.1 percent to 2,439.88. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also advanced.

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 23- China has suspended publishing its volatility index following the recent stock market rout, as regulators step up efforts to curb speculative trading and shore up investor confidence. China's blue-chip index CSI300 tumbled 12 percent over 10 sessions from on Jan. 29, suffering heavier losses than major U.S. stock indexes, whose sudden and...

  • SEOUL, South Korea— South Korea says it will appeal the World Trade Organization's decision against Seoul's import bans on Japanese fishery products imposed in the wake of Fukushima nuclear meltdowns. The WTO accepted Japan's complaint saying that South Korea's trade move was inconsistent with the trade body's rules, discriminatory and served as a trade...

  • NEW YORK— "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli is due back in court Friday for a hearing about whether he should forfeit millions of dollars in assets including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album as part of his conviction in a securities fraud scheme. Prosecutors are expected to argue in federal court in Brooklyn that Shkreli is on the hook for more than $7 million.

  • TOKYO, Feb 23- Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda may have little to cheer about despite landing another five-year term for one of the most influential jobs in the country, if not the world. The number of appearances- 10 times that of the Federal Reserve chair and seven times that of the Bank of England governor- could drain even a workaholic like Kuroda, who is in...

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 23- Oil prices dipped on Friday as high U.S. crude exports outweighed lower crude inventories in the world's biggest consumer of the fuel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $62.73 a barrel at 0449 GMT, down 4 cents from their last settlement. Brent crude futures were down 6 cents at $66.33 a barrel.