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Disappointing HSBC update, weak miners keep FTSE in the red

MILAN, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The UK's top share index inched lower on Tuesday, weighed down by a disappointing update from banking heavyweight HSBC and declines in big mining stocks on metal price weakness.

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks struggle as bond yields, dollar regain traction

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - A six-day rebound in world stocks began to splutter on Tuesday, as bond market borrowing costs regained traction and the dollar kicked firmly away from a three-year low.

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S.African minister orders Transnet to report irregularities over locomotive contract

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 20 (Reuters) - South Africa's Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown on Tuesday ordered rail utility Transnet to report to law enforcement officials irregularities in the awarding of a 54 billion rand ($5 billion) contract to acquire locomotives in 2014.

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UPDATE 1-Indian software services sector to grow 7-9 pct in FY19 - lobby group

* Current outlook is one of cautious optimism - NASSCOM president

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CORRECTED-UPDATE 3-Japan's Sony to form alliance to build taxi-hailing system

TOKYO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Sony Corp said on Tuesday it would become the latest blue-chip firm to jockey for position in Japan's taxi and ride-hailing market, with plans for a joint venture to develop an artificial intelligence-based hailing system.

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UPDATE 3-BHP boosts dividend as half-year profit jumps 25 pct, costs rise

* CEO says will meet activist investor Elliott Advisors (Adds bullets, share price)

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UPDATE 2-M&A synergies, economic growth lift HeidelbergCement

* Shares up 1.5 pct (Adds details on synergies, Egypt, shares)

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UPDATE 1-Iran finds wreckage of crashed plane on top of mountain

* Iranians angry about state of aging aircraft fleet (Adds quotes, protest)

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CORRECTED -Chevron restarts drilling in Kurdistan region of Iraq (Feb 19)

Feb 19 (Reuters) - U.S. oil company Chevron Corp on Monday said it had resumed drilling operations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI).

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European shares edge back up, Edenred tops gainers

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - European shares edged back in positive territory on Tuesday after ending a three-day recovery in the previous session when Wall Street and Chinese markets were closed for holiday.

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REFILE-UPDATE 3-Papua New Guinea LNG partners set plans for big expansion

MELBOURNE, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Global giants ExxonMobil Corp and France's Total SA have reached broad agreement on plans to double gas exports from Papua New Guinea, their partner Oil Search Ltd said on Tuesday.

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BHP's half year profit jumps 25 pct; misses forecasts

Feb 20 (Reuters) - The world's biggest miner BHP said on Tuesday its underlying half-year profit rose 25 percent, helped by robust commodity prices.

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REFILE-Oil markets mixed on lower Canadian flows, firmer dollar

* Overall markets well supported by ongoing OPEC production cuts

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UPDATE 1-Samsung Elec to slash OLED panel production as iPhone X demand disappoints - Nikkei

* Samsung to make panels for 20 mln iPhones in Jan-March -Nikkei

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S.Korea's fin min vows to negotiate with GM over fate of plants

SEOUL, Feb 20 (Reuters) - South Korea's finance minister said on Tuesday the government would hold talks with General Motors over the future of its four plants after the company announced the closure of one and left the other three in the balance.

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BRIEF-HSBC Bank Canada Qtrly Basic Earnings Per Common Share $0.28

* ‍CO REPORTED A PROFIT BEFORE INCOME TAX EXPENSE OF $206M FOR Q4 OF 2017, A DECREASE OF $45M, OR 18%, COMPARED WITH Q4 OF 2016​

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MIDEAST - Factors to watch - February 20

DUBAI, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Tuesday. Reuters has not verified the press reports and does not vouch for their accuracy.

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PRECIOUS-Gold prices inch down as dollar strengthens

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices slid for a third straight session on Tuesday as the dollar rebounded from over three-year lows, while investors waited for the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting for clues on the outlook for U.S. interest rates. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,343.22 an ounce at 0112 GMT. * U.S. gold futures slipped 0.8 percent to $1,345.70 per ounce. * The dollar index , which measures the greenback aga

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UPDATE 2-Brazil's GPA shakes up management, appoints tech-savvy new leaders

SAO PAULO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - GPA SA, one of Brazil's largest food retailers, announced on Monday evening a shake-up of its management team, replacing its CEO and the head of a subsidiary just moments before releasing full-year results.

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REFILE-GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks dip after European surge fades, dollar firm

* European stocks dip overnight, US markets closed Mon for holiday

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UPDATE 1-Oil Search 2017 profit surges; outlines PNG expansion

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Australia's Oil Search on Tuesday reported a near threefold rise in annual core profit, underpinned by robust sales and rising oil and gas prices, and outlined a major expansion in Papua New Guinea.

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PNG LNG, Papua LNG partners agree on 8 mtpa LNG expansion - Oil Search

MELBOURNE, Feb 20 (Reuters) - ExxonMobil Corp, Total SA and their partners in gas projects in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have broadly agreed on how they want to expand the PNG LNG project using gas from new and existing fields, Oil Search Ltd said on Tuesday.

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BRIEF-Hi-Crush Partners LP Posts Q4 Earnings Per Share $0.47

* HI-CRUSH PARTNERS LP REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR 2017 RESULTS

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UK Supreme Court hears key case on gig economy worker

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Britain's Supreme Court was hearing on Tuesday whether a plumber hired on a self-employed basis should have received workers' rights, in a case which could affect the business models of major firms operating in the gig economy.

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BRIEF-PRGX Global Inc Appoints New Chief Product Officer

* PRGX GLOBAL, INC. ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF NEW CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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Chevron restarts drilling in Kurdistan region of Iraq

Feb 19 (Reuters) - U.S. oil company Chevron Corp on Monday said it had resumed drilling operations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI).

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Brazilian minister says pension reform bill halted in Congress

BRASILIA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Brazil's political affairs minister Carlos Marun said on Monday that passage through Congress of a bill to overhaul the country's costly social security system has effectively been halted and would not be put to a vote.

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British Columbia challenges Alberta wine ban in oil row

VANCOUVER, Feb 19 (Reuters) - British Columbia said on Monday that it will formally challenge a ban of its wine by Alberta under Canada's national free-trade pact, as a battle between the two provinces over a crude oil pipeline expansion project rages on.

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UPDATE 1-Kentucky accuses Cardinal Health of contributing to opioid epidemic

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Kentucky's attorney general on Monday filed a lawsuit against drug distributor Cardinal Health Inc , accusing it of contributing to the opioid epidemic by failing to halt or report suspiciously large or frequent orders by pharmacies of prescription painkillers.

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BRIEF-Southwest Airlines Cargo To Ship Cargo to Select International Destinations Starting May

* SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO - ‍ INTENTION TO BEGIN SHIPPING CARGO TO SELECT INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS BEGINNING IN MAY 2018 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Imvescor Shareholders Approve Previously Announced Amalgamation

* IMVESCOR SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED AMALGAMATION

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BlackRock upgrades outlook for U.S. stocks on earnings momentum

(Reuters) - The world's biggest asset manager BlackRock Inc upgraded its view on U.S. stocks, citing very strong earnings momentum, while cutting European stocks to neutral.

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UPDATE 2-Egyptian firm to buy $15 billion in Israeli natural gas

TEL AVIV, Feb 19 (Reuters) - An Egyptian company will buy $15 billion of Israeli natural gas in two 10-year agreements announced on Monday, marking a major export deal that Israel hopes will strengthen diplomatic ties.

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Uber suspends service in Morocco after two years

BRUSSELS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Uber said on Monday it would suspend operations in Morocco, two years after they began, as it tries to bring its business into line with local laws.

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Cleanup underway after Centurion pipeline oil spill in Oklahoma -media

Feb 19 (Reuters) - A cleanup is underway after oil spilled into a pond from a pipeline that burst near a neighborhood in Yukon, Oklahoma, early on Sunday, media website news9.com reported.

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UPDATE 1-ProSieben in exclusive talks with General Atlantic on digital stake sale- sources

MUNICH/FRANKFURT, Feb 19 (Reuters) - ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE is in exclusive talks with private equity firm General Atlantic over the sale of a minority stake in its digital business, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

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BRIEF-Orsted Says Is In Discussions Regarding 50 Pct Farm-Down Of Hornsea 1

* ORSTED COMMENTS ON MEDIA SPECULATION REGARDING A 50% FARM-DOWN OF HORNSEA 1

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Kentucky accuses Cardinal Health of contributing to opioid epidemic

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Kentucky's attorney general on Monday accused the drug distributor Cardinal Health Inc of contributing to the opioid epidemic by failing to halt or report suspiciously large or frequent orders by pharmacies of prescription painkillers.

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Brazil's Senate head says Rio military intervention blocks pension vote

BRASILIA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Eunicio Oliveira, the head of Brazil's Senate, said on Monday that the federal government's military intervention in Rio de Janeiro would, by the rules of the country's constitution, block any vote on pension reform or any other measure requiring a constitutional amendment.

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BRIEF-Crawford & Co Expands Its Service Portfolio In Australia To Include Workers' Compensation

* CRAWFORD & CO - EXPANSION OF ITS SERVICE PORTFOLIO IN AUSTRALIA TO INCLUDE WORKERS' COMPENSATION Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks up on corporate newsflow; trading volumes thin

By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks rose on Monday on thin trading volumes following a heavy batch of corporate updates. The benchmark Bovespa stock index rose 0.3 percent, supported by shares of state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA on the heels of rising crude prices. Shares in electronics and appliance retailer Via Varejo SA rose 1.1 percent following solid fourth-quarter earnings figures. Fibria Celulose SA and Suzano Papel e

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BlackRock raises U.S. equities to overweight on earnings momentum

LONDON (Reuters) - The world's biggest asset manager BlackRock has upgraded its view on U.S. equities to "overweight", citing very strong earnings momentum, while cutting European stocks to neutral.

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BRIEF-Chicago Rivet & Machine Increases Qtrly Cash Dividend By 5 Pct To 21 Cents/Share

* ‍DIRECTORS ALSO DECLARED AN EXTRA DIVIDEND OF 30 CENTS PER SHARE, PAYABLE MARCH 20, 2018​

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BRIEF-The Hartford Enters Renewal Rights Agreement For Foremost Insurance's Commercial Independent Agent Business

* THE HARTFORD ENTERS RENEWAL RIGHTS AGREEMENT FOR THE SMALL COMMERCIAL INDEPENDENT AGENT BUSINESS OF FOREMOST INSURANCE

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CORRECTED-UPDATE 3-LyondellBasell doubles plastics business with $2.24 bln Schulman deal

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Chemicals maker LyondellBasell Industries NV said it will buy smaller rival A. Schulman Inc for $2.24 billion, doubling the size of its business that supplies plastic compounds to the packaging, electronics and building markets.

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks break recovery streak with U.S. and China closed

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - World stocks were set to post their first loss in five days on Monday, breaking a winning streak that saw them recover almost half their losses from a violent sell-off two weeks ago.

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Global mining deals jump 15 pct by value in 2017 -EY

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The value of global mining and metals deals hit a four-year high in 2017, according to accountancy firm EY, as financial distress abated and companies sold off non-core assets.

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Colombia coal output down slightly in 2017 to 89.4 million tonnes

BOGOTA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Colombia, the world's fifth-largest exporter of coal, produced 89.4 million tonnes in 2017, down 1.2 percent from output the year before, the Energy and Mining Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

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UPDATE 1-Fibria confirms talks with Suzano over 'alternative strategies' -filing

SAO PAULO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian pulpmaker Fibria Celulose SA said Suzano Papel e Celulose SA representatives have contacted its controlling shareholders to discuss "alternative strategies" for the companies, according to a securities filing on Monday.

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UPDATE 2-Brazil's BB Seguridade shares fall after profit miss

SAO PAULO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Shares in Brazilian insurance holding company BB Seguridade opened sharply lower after its fourth-quarter profit missed estimates as lower interest rates and a fall in premiums written dragged on its results.

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BRIEF-Caterpillar Announces Officer Appointment

* ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAS APPOINTED TONY FASSINO A COMPANY VICE PRESIDENT Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Celanese Appoints Scott Richardson As Chief Financial Officer

* CELANESE APPOINTS SCOTT RICHARDSON AS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

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BRIEF-Worthington Industries Extends Existing $500 Mln Revolving Credit Facility

* WORTHINGTON INDUSTRIES EXTENDS EXISTING $500 MILLION REVOLVING CREDIT FACILITY

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BRIEF-Funrise And Hasbro Extend Licensing Relationship For Tonka Brand

* FUNRISE INC SAYS CO AND HASBRO ANNOUNCE THEY HAVE EXTENDED THEIR LICENSING RELATIONSHIP FOR TONKA BRAND

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Linde to pay advance '18 div to lay ground for Praxair merger

FRANKFURT, Feb 19 (Reuters) - German industrial gases group Linde proposed a combined dividend of 7.00 euros ($8.68) share for 2017 and - as advance payment - for parts of 2018 to reconcile its dividend payment pattern with that of prospective merger partner Praxair.

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Siemens, Bombardier considered for Thai airport rail contract - FAZ

FRANKFURT, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Thailand's province of Phuket is in talks with Siemens and Bombardier over a contract to supply a rail connection to the airport, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported.

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Israel's energy minister says gas deal to boost Israel-Egypt ties

JERUSALEM, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Monday that natural gas export deals worth $15 billion signed with Egypt will strengthen bilateral ties.

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Alibaba, Tencent rally troops amid $10 billion retail battle

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - 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.

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BRIEF-Comfortdelgro-Uber Proposed JV Enters Second Phase Of Competition Commission Review

* COMFORTDELGRO-UBER PROPOSED JOINT VENTURE TO ENTER PHASE 2 OF COMPETITION COMMISSION'S DELIBERATION

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Singapore Refining Company completes new gasoline clean fuels facility

* Singapore Refining Company said on Monday that it has completed a new $500 million gasoline clean fuels facility and cogeneration plant at its Jurong Island refinery

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Poland's coal imports from U.S. rose five-fold in 2017

WARSAW, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Poland's coal imports from the United States jumped five-fold last year to 839,000 tonnes due to shortages on the domestic market, data from the state-run ARP agency, which monitors the Polish coal market, showed.

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BRIEF-Unicredit Enters Into Collaboration With Alibaba.com

* SAYS HAS ENTERED INTO A COLLABORATION TO SUPPORT ITALIAN EXPORTERS WITH ALIBABA.COM Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Gdynia Newsroom)

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UPDATE 2-S.Korea's Moon bemoans GM plant closure move, calls on govt to help workers

* Moon asks govt for job measures to offset GM plant shutdown move

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Iran continues search for missing plane, no wreckage found yet

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Iranian rescue teams were still trying to locate the wreckage of a plane on Monday a day after it crashed with 65 people on board, as glacial temperatures and mountainous terrain hampered their search.

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ExxonMobil acquires 2.5 pct stake in the BTC oil pipeline

BAKU, Feb 19 (Reuters) - U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has acquired 2.5 percent stake in the Azeri Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline from CIECO, a subsidary of Itochu, an ExxonMobil official said on Monday.

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UPDATE 2-AstraZeneca's immunotherapy drug wins key lung cancer approval

* Rival BMS, Merck, Roche drugs approved for later disease (Adds shares, analyst reaction)

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BRIEF-Morphosys And Galapagos Present Results From Phase 1 Study With Mor106

* SAID ON SATURDAY MORPHOSYS AND GALAPAGOS PRESENT RESULTS FROM A PHASE 1 STUDY WITH MOR106 IN ATOPIC DERMATITIS AS LATE-BREAKING ABSTRACT

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UPDATE 2-Australia's Domain steady in slipping property market, shares rise

* Domain posts 12.5 pct revenue rise in stalled property market

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Morning News Call - India, February 19

(Debt and currency markets are closed on Monday, February 19 for Shivaji Jayanti.) To access the newsletter, click on the link: http://share.thomsonreuters.com/assets/newsletters/Indiamorning/MNC_IN_02192018.pdf If you would like to receive this newsletter via email, please register at: https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/india-morning/ FACTORS TO WATCH 10:00 am: Tata Steel MD T.V. Narendran, Tata Consultancy Services HR Head D.P. Nambiar, Hindustan Unilever E

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Nikkei rises to 1-1/2-week high, exporters and big-caps gain

TOKYO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a 1-1/2-week high on Monday morning as exporters took advantage of a pullback in the yen, while market heavyweights such as Fanuc and Fast Retailing helped boost the benchmark index.

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METALS-LME copper slips as dollar gains in holiday-thinned trade

MELBOURNE, Feb 19 (Reuters) - London metals started the week lower on Monday as a resurgent dollar dragged down prices from one-month highs hit the session before and the Lunar New Year holidays reduced liquidity. FUNDAMENTALS * COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had slipped by 0.6 percent to $7,189 a tonne by 0104 GMT, erasing small gains from the previous session when prices hit the highest since Jan. 15 at $7,253. Volumes were exceptionally light across the complex with

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PRECIOUS-Gold prices inch up on weaker dollar

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up on Monday on a softer U.S. dollar and as investors bought the yellow metal as a hedge against inflation. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,350.51 an ounce at 0120 GMT. It hit a three-week high oft $1,361.76 on Friday. * The metal rose 2.4 percent last week, its best weekly gain since the week ended Sept. 1. * U.S. gold futures slipped 0.2 percent to $1,353.10 per ounce. * The dollar index , w

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BRIEF-Algae.Tec Enters Commercial Supply & Collaboration Deal With Seachem Laboratories Inc

* ENTERS EXCLUSIVE COMMERCIAL SUPPLY & COLLABORATION DEAL WITH SEACHEM LABORATORIES INC Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (bangalore.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com)

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares extend global recovery, volatility subsides

TOKYO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Asian shares ticked up on Monday, joining a global recovery for equity markets as sentiment improved gradually from a recent shakeout that stemmed from fears of creeping inflation and higher borrowing costs.

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BRIEF-Droneshield Updates on Certification Of Droneshield LLC

* UNITED STATES DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY CERTIFIED DRONESHIELD LLC UNDER UNITED STATES / CANADA JOINT CERTIFICATION PROGRAM DD2345 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Samsung Engineering wins $1.03 bln order to build oil refining plant

* Says awarded 1.1 trillion won ($1.03 billion) contract to build an oil refining plant in Oman

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German carmakers in a spin ahead of diesel ban ruling

FRANKFURT/BERLIN, Feb 19 (Reuters) - A court will decide on Thursday whether German cities can ban heavily polluting cars, potentially wiping hundreds of millions of euros off the value of diesel cars on the country's roads.

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Global dividends hit record of $1.25 trln in 2017, more to come

MILAN, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Global dividends rose 7.7 percent to an all-time high of $1.25 trillion (1 trillion euros) last year boosted by a buoyant world economy and rising corporate confidence, Janus Henderson said on Monday, predicting another record year ahead.

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BRIEF-Austal Wins US$15 Mln Contract For Guided Missile Frigate FFG(X) Concept Design

* AWARDED US$15 MILLION DOLLAR FIXED PRICE CONTRACT FOR GUIDED MISSILE FRIGATE FFG(X) CONCEPT DESIGN

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India's Reliance, global tech firms to invest $9.3 bln in industrial area

MUMBAI, Feb 18 (Reuters) - India's Reliance Industries Ltd and global technology companies will invest 600 billion rupees ($9.34 billion) over 10 years to set up an integrated industrial area in the western state of Maharashtra, the company's chairman Mukesh Ambani said.

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UPDATE 4-All 65 passengers, crew feared dead in Iranian plane crash

* Rescue helicopters to search crash site due to bad weather (Adds airline s65 on board, search continues, relatives' quote)

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UPDATE 3-All 66 passengers, crew feared dead in Iranian plane crash

* Rescue helicopters unable to land due to bad weather (Adds Khamenei, Rouhani statement, details, background)

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Gazit-Globe sells more Regency Centers shares for $101 mln

* Israeli real estate developer Gazit-Globe Ltd said on Sunday it sold another 1.03 percent, or 1.76 million shares, in Regency Centers Corp for $101 million.

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India's City Union Bank CEO says suffered cyber hack via SWIFT system

MUMBAI, Feb 18 (Reuters) - India's City Union Bank said on Sunday that "cyber criminals" had hacked its systems and transferred nearly $2 million through three unauthorised remittances to lenders overseas via the SWIFT financial platform.

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Careem acquires Middle East online restaurant listing platform, to trial food delivery

DUBAI, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Careem, a Middle East competitor to Uber Technologies, said on Sunday it had acquired RoundMenu and would start trialing food delivery services through the restaurant listing and reservation online platform this month.

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Facebook plans to use U.S. mail to verify IDs of election ad buyers

WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc will start using postcards sent by U.S. mail later this year to verify the identities and location of people who want to purchase U.S. election-related advertising on its site, a senior company executive said on Saturday.

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UPDATE 1-Gilead wins reversal of $2.54 bln hepatitis C drug patent verdict

Feb 17 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Delaware has overturned a jury's verdict requiring Gilead Sciences Inc to pay a record $2.54 billion because its hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni infringed a patent held by rival Merck & Co Inc.

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UPDATE 3-Three held as $1.8 bln fraud ripples through Indian banks

* Three arrested to remain under police custody til March 3-court

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Gilead wins reversal of $2.54 bln hepatitis C drug patent verdict

Feb 17 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Delaware has overturned a jury's verdict requiring Gilead Sciences Inc to pay a record $2.54 billion because its hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni infringed a patent held by rival Merck & Co Inc.

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India's City Union says hit by fraudulent remittances via SWIFT system

MUMBAI, Feb 17 (Reuters) - India's City Union Bank Ltd on Saturday said it had suffered three "fraudulent remittances" of nearly $2 million that had been pushed through the SWIFT financial platform.

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UPDATE 6-U.S. charges Russians with 2016 U.S. election tampering to boost Trump

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A Russian propaganda arm oversaw a criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to support Donald Trump and disparage Hillary Clinton, said an indictment released on Friday that revealed more details than previously known about Moscow's purported effort to interfere.

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RPT-Facebook faces big challenge to prevent future U.S. election meddling

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The Russian influence operation designed to tamper with the 2016 U.S. presidential election used a combination of old-school espionage tactics and 21st-century technologies that will not be easy to stop, even now that the methods have been exposed, experts said.

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UPDATE 1-AstraZeneca's immunotherapy drug wins key lung cancer approval

* Rival BMS, Merck, Roche drugs approved for later disease (Adds details on competition, size of market opportunity)

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UPDATE 6-U.S. Commerce Department proposes hefty import curbs on steel, aluminum

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department has recommended that President Donald Trump impose steep curbs on steel and aluminum imports from China and other countries ranging from global and country-specific tariffs to broad import quotas, according to proposals released on Friday.

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UPDATE 5-U.S. Commerce Department proposes hefty import curbs on steel, aluminum

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department has recommended that President Donald Trump impose steep curbs on steel and aluminum imports from China and other countries ranging from global and country-specific tariffs to broad import quotas, according to proposals released on Friday.

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UPDATE 5-U.S. charges Russians with 2016 U.S. election tampering to boost Trump

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A Russian propaganda arm oversaw a criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to support Donald Trump and disparage Hillary Clinton, said an indictment released on Friday that revealed more details than previously known about Moscow's purported effort to interfere.

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BRIEF-Lockheed Martin receives $15 mln Freedom-variant FFG Conceptual Design Contract

* LOCKHEED MARTIN RECEIVES FREEDOM-VARIANT FFG(X) CONCEPTUAL DESIGN CONTRACT

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Facebook faces big challenge to prevent future U.S. election meddling

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The Russian influence operation designed to tamper with the 2016 U.S. presidential election used a combination of old-school espionage tactics and 21st-century technologies that will not be easy to stop, even now that the methods have been exposed, experts said.

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Mexico's Pemex says no immediate reports of quake damage at its plants

MEXICO CITY, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The installations of Mexican national oil firm Pemex appear not to have sustained any damage after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico on Friday, the company's chief executive said.

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UPDATE 2-U.S. seeks to block AT&T from citing Trump opposition in merger lawsuit

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday moved to prevent AT&T Inc from arguing that politics played a role in the government's decision to stop its merger with Time Warner Inc, a deal that President Donald Trump had publicly criticized.

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BRIEF-Trisura Group Reports Q4 Loss Per Share $0.01

* TRISURA GROUP REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER AND 2017 ANNUAL RESULTS

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Winn-Dixie owner Bi-Lo preparing for bankruptcy filing - sources

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Supermarket company Bi-Lo LLC, which owns the Winn-Dixie chain, is planning to close at least 100 stores in a potential bankruptcy, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

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Nigerian cinema fans celebrate 'Black Panther' release

LAGOS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Film fans, actors and comic enthusiasts in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos have been flocking to screenings of Marvel superhero movie "Black Panther" which opened in Africa's most populous country this week.

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BRIEF-Needle Capital Entered LOI With The Flowr Corp

* NEEDLE CAPITAL - ‍ ENTERED LOI WITH THE FLOWR CORP TO COMPLETE A TRANSACTION TO FORM RESULTING ISSUER TO CONTINUE BUSINESS OF FLOWR​

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Monsanto loses bid to stop Arkansas ban on farm chemical

CHICAGO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - An Arkansas judge on Friday dismissed a Monsanto Co lawsuit aiming to stop Arkansas from blocking the use of a controversial farm chemical the company makes, dealing a blow to its attempts to increase sales of genetically engineered seeds.

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Trader sues Fidelity over website glitch during market rout

BOSTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A New Jersey trader filed a lawsuit against Fidelity Investments, accusing it of "gross negligence" because he could not make trades on the company's website earlier this month during a volatile time on the stock market.

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CANADA STOCKS-TSX racks up best week in two years as oil shares rise

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday as a boost from the heavyweight energy sector helped the market rack up its best weekly performance in nearly two years.

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BRIEF-Mill Road Capital Reports 5.6 Pct Stake In Goldfield Corp

* MILL ROAD CAPITAL II LP REPORTS 5.6 PERCENT STAKE IN GOLDFIELD CORP AS OF FEBRUARY 7 - SEC FILING

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BRIEF-Voxeljet AG Sees Q1 Revenue In Range Of 4.5 Mln Euros And 5.5 Mln Euros

* VOXELJET AG ISSUES FINANCIAL GUIDANCE FOR THE YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2018; ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2017

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BRIEF-Harsco Corp Appoints Edgar Purvis To Board

* HARSCO CORP SAYS APPOINTEMENT OF EDGAR PURVIS INCREASES SIZE OF BOARD TO TEN DIRECTORS - SEC FILING Source text: (http://bit.ly/2C2XK6y) Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Comerica Files For Potential Mixed Shelf Offering

* COMERICA INC FILES FOR POTENTIAL MIXED SHELF OFFERING; SIZE NOT DISCLOSED - SEC FILING Source text: (http://bit.ly/2HoN69R) Further company coverage:

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UPDATE 1-'Sinister and systematic attack' by Russians prompts U.S. Congress calls for action

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Republicans and Democrats joined together to call for more concerted action, and pressure on social media companies, to combat foreign interference in U.S. elections after Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced indictments of Russians for meddling in the 2016 U.S. campaign on Friday.

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BRIEF-Berry Global Announces Proprietary Spinlace Capacity Investment

* BERRY GLOBAL, INC. ANNOUNCES PROPRIETARY SPINLACE® CAPACITY INVESTMENT

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BRIEF-Synopsys Says CEO Art De Geus' FY 2017 Total Compensation Was $6.7 Mln

* SYNOPSYS INC SAYS CO-CEO AND CHAIRMAN ART J. DE GEUS' FY 2017 TOTAL COMPENSATION WAS $6.7 MILLION VERSUS $5.7 MILLION IN FY 2016 - SEC FILING

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BRIEF-S&P Global Ratings To Bring Cyber Risk Insights From Cyence Risk Analytics To S&P Global Ratings360​

* S&P GLOBAL RATINGS SAYS TO BRING CYBER RISK INSIGHTS FROM GUIDEWIRE SOFTWARE'S CYENCE RISK ANALYTICS TO S&P GLOBAL RATINGS360​ Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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Fear of federal law may prevent gun retailers from storing firearms

(Reuters Health) - What if someone who lived with the young man who unleashed one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history this week had been concerned that he might harm himself or others and removed his AR-15 rifle from his home?

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UPDATE 1-Facebook loses Belgian privacy case, faces fine of up to $125 mln

BRUSSELS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A Belgian court threatened Facebook on Friday with a fine of up to 100 million euros ($125 million) if it continued to break privacy laws by tracking people on third-party websites.

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BRIEF-CVS Group Raises 60 Mln Pounds Through Placing​

* ‍SUCCESSFULLY RAISED A TOTAL OF APPROXIMATELY £60 MILLION (BEFORE EXPENSES) BY MEANS OF AN ACCELERATED BOOKBUILD​

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BRIEF-Uber Preparing To Sell Southeast Asia Unit To Grab In Exchange For Stake In Company - CNBC‍​

* UBER IS PREPARING TO SELL SOUTHEAST ASIA UNIT TO GRAB IN EXCHANGE FOR STAKE IN COMPANY - CNBC, CITING SOURCES ‍​ Source text: http://cnb.cx/2BwgfiO Further company coverage:

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UPDATE 1-GE faces shareholder lawsuit over insurance shortfall, SEC probe

NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - General Electric Co was sued on Friday by a shareholder who accused the conglomerate of concealing mounting insurance liabilities and a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe, costing shareholders tens of billions of dollars.

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Broadcom’s US$100bn loan takes loans to next level

NEW YORK, Feb 16 (LPC) - Broadcom’s US$100m loan package backing its proposed US$121bn acquisition of Qualcomm, is set to become the biggest-ever syndicated loan globally if the hostile deal goes ahead.

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BRIEF-Waymo Is Readying A Ride-Hailing Service That Could Directly Compete With Uber -Quartz

* WAYMO IS READYING A RIDE-HAILING SERVICE THAT COULD DIRECTLY COMPETE WITH UBER -QUARTZ Source text : http://bit.ly/2Cpudjr

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BRIEF-Marriott's Frenchman's Cove In St. Thomas Reopens

* MARRIOTT'S FRENCHMAN'S COVE IN ST. THOMAS REOPENS AFTER RECOVERY EFFORTS FROM HURRICANES IRMA AND MARIA

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks set for best week in 6 years, dollar climbs

NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Global stocks rose on Friday and were set for their best week in six years as strong corporate earnings offset concerns about rising inflation and interest rates, while the U.S. dollar edged higher from a three-year low against major currencies.

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UPDATE 2-Merkel sees no threat in new gas pipe to Russia, Poland disagrees

* Polish PM: Nord Stream 2 menaces Ukraine's existence (Adds quotes from Polish PM)

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Takata has resolved most objections to its U.S. bankruptcy -lawyer

WILMINGTON, Del, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A lawyer for Takata Corp's U.S. business, bankrupted by a recall of faulty air bags, indicated on Friday that the company is on the verge of receiving court approval for its reorganization and $1.6 billion sale of its non-air bag businesses.

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UPDATE 1-Citigroup raises CEO Corbat's pay 48 pct to $23 mln

NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc raised Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat's annual compensation by 48 percent to $23 million for 2017, a year in which the bank made more money from operations but still fell short of earlier targets.

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UPDATE 1-Qualcomm says open to talks with Broadcom for better offer

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc is open to discussing a buyout offer from Broadcom Ltd that "reflects the true value" of the chipmaker and better addresses its concerns about potential regulatory hurdles to a deal, the company said on Friday.

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BRIEF-Citigroup Says CEO Corbat's Annual Compensation For 2017 Is $23 Mln

* CITIGROUP - ON FEB 15, PERSONNEL & COMPENSATION COMMITTEE APPROVED INCENTIVE COMPENSATION AWARDS FOR 2017 PERFORMANCE TO CEO, OTHER SENIOR EXECUTIVES‍​

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BRIEF-La-Z-Boy Plans To Invest About $10 Mln In Its England Inc Upholstery Manufacturing Campus

* LA-Z-BOY TO INVEST IN NEW TAZEWELL, TN MANUFACTURING CAMPUS

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BRIEF-Freddie Mac Announces First NPL Sale Of 2018

* FREDDIE MAC - ‍$420 MILLION TRANSACTION FEATURES FOUR POOLS, INCLUDING AN EXTENDED TIMELINE POOL OFFERING TARGETING SMALLER INVESTORS​ Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Moleculin Announces Pricing Of $9 Million Registered Direct Offering

* MOLECULIN ANNOUNCES PRICING OF $9 MILLION REGISTERED DIRECT OFFERING

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BRIEF-Townebank Names William Littreal New CFO

* ‍PROMOTION OF WILLIAM B. LITTREAL TO POSITION OF SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER​

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UPDATE 1-Foreign investment in Canada securities dips after long run

OTTAWA, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Foreign investment in Canadian securities slipped slightly in December after five strong months but international demand over the year was high enough to set an annual record, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

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BRIEF-Qualcomm Says Open To Discussions With Broadcom For Proposal That Reflects "True Value" Of Co's Shares

* QUALCOMM INC - BOARD FOUND MEETING WITH BROADCOM "TO BE CONSTRUCTIVE"

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BRIEF-Pacwest Bancorp Says Board Amended Its Existing Stock Repurchase Program

* PACWEST BANCORP SAYS ON FEB 14, 2018, BOARD AMENDED ITS EXISTING STOCK REPURCHASE PROGRAM - SEC FILING

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Kraft Heinz quarterly profit, sales miss estimates

(Reuters) - Kraft Heinz Co's quarterly profit and sales missed analysts' estimates on Friday, hurt by lower shipments for nuts, natural cheese and cold cuts in the U.S.

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UPDATE 2- Under investor pressure, Danone eyes more profit growth in 2018

* Shares rise (Adds share reaction, analyst comment, details)

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INSIGHT-Lost in translation? GM plant shutdown shocks South Korea

* GM's plant closure "shock and surprise" - S.Korean officials

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Zinc miners, smelters spar over supply as 2018 terms delayed

MELBOURNE, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Global zinc miners and smelters failed to reach any benchmark deal on 2018 processing terms at an annual industry gathering this week, and any agreement is likely to be delayed by a month or more as participants haggle over prospects for growing supply in the second half, two industry sources told Reuters.

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BRIEF-Consortium Of Air Liquide, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, Enerkem And Port Of Rotterdam Sign Project Development Agreement

* PARTNERS AGREE ON INITIAL FUNDING TO KICK OFF WASTE-TO-CHEMISTRY PROJECT IN ROTTERDAM

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UPDATE 1-Aluminium maker Norsk Hydro raises dividend on buoyant earnings

OSLO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Aluminium producer Norsk Hydro proposed a higher-than-expected annual dividend on Friday thanks to stronger aluminium and alumina prices that boosted performance across its most important divisions, sending its shares up.

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UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 16

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 30 points higher at 7,264.8 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.48 percent ahead of the cash market open.

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REFILE-Foreigners' net selling of Japan stocks hits highest since Aug 2015

TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Net selling of Japanese stocks by foreign investors last week hit the highest since China's stock market crash in 2015, as a sharp sell-off on Wall Street triggered a global flight from riskier assets, exchange data showed.

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CORRECTED-Gazprom demands discounts from Russian pipemakers as investments peak

* Gazprom seeks 20 pct discount on large diameter pipes - sources

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CORRECTED-RPT-Gazprom demands discounts from Russian pipemakers as investments peak

* Gazprom seeks 20 pct discount on large diameter pipes - sources

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Britain's Balfour says joint venture bags $1.95 bln U.S. airport contract

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Britain's Balfour Beatty said on Friday its joint venture had won a $1.95 billion contract relating to building, financing and managing an airport transport system at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the United States.

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UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 16

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 30 points higher at 7,264.8 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers. * VIRGIN MONEY: Virgin Money formed a rare female chair and chief executive team among Britain's top 350 listed companies by hiring former HSBC HSBA.L executive Irene Dorner as chairwoman. * TULLOW OIL: British oil firm Tullow oil has picked electrical engineer and businessman Kweku Awotwi as the new head of its Ghana operations after the retirem

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UPDATE 3-U.S. SEC blocks Chicago Stock Exchange sale to China-based investors

* SEC not satisfied with source of funds, who ultimate consortium owners would be

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PRESS DIGEST- Wall Street Journal - Feb 16

Feb 16 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

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UPDATE 2-Jeffrey Tambor out of Amazon's 'Transparent' TV series

LOS ANGELES, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Jeffrey Tambor, the award-winning star of Amazon Studios television series "Transparent," is exiting the show, the company said on Thursday, following accusations of sexual misconduct.

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E-commerce firm Mercado Libre to open distribution centers in Mexico

MEXICO CITY, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Mercado Libre, Latin America's home-grown e-commerce firm, said on Thursday that it would open two large distribution centers in Mexico as part of an effort to improve its logistics in the country.

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UPDATE 1-Canada regulator allows more Kinder Morgan pipeline construction

VANCOUVER, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Canadian regulator National Energy Board (NEB) on Thursday issued rulings that allow Kinder Morgan Canada to do additional construction work on an oil pipeline expansion that is fiercely opposed by the province of British Columbia.

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares extend bounce to 5th day, dollar sags to 3-year low

* Fall in Vix futures suggest position unwinding over for now

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Nikkei rises on relief over Kuroda's BOJ reappointment

TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Friday morning, with investors relieved to see the government appoint Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda for another term and choose an advocate of bolder monetary easing as one of his deputies.

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BRIEF-Imvescor Announces Issuance Of "No-Action" Letter By Commissionner Of Competition

* IMVESCOR ANNOUNCES ISSUANCE OF "NO-ACTION" LETTER BY THE COMMISSIONNER OF COMPETITION Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ( Bangalore.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com )

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UPDATE 1-Avis' biggest investor nominates 5 to board seat elections

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Avis Budget Corp's largest shareholder said on Thursday it had nominated five members for election to the car rental company's board at the upcoming annual meeting.

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BRIEF-Hunter Group says private placement has been successfully completed

* HUNTER GROUP ASA SAYS PRIVATE PLACEMENT HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED RAISING NOK 75 MILLION IN GROSS PROCEEDS Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Avante announces quarterly ‍total revenues of $6.02 million

* AVANTE ANNOUNCES RESULTS FOR THE PERIOD ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2017

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BRIEF-Instructure Announces Public Offering Of 2.50 Mln Common Shares Priced At $39.50 Per Share

* INSTRUCTURE ANNOUNCES PRICING OF PUBLIC OFFERING OF COMMON STOCK

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UPDATE 1-BHP Billiton to drill two new deepwater wells in Trion this year

MEXICO CITY, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Drilling of a new appraisal well and a separate exploration well in BHP Billiton deepwater Trion project will begin later this year, part of a plan approved by Mexican regulators on Thursday that also revised downward the project's estimated oil and gas resources.

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BRIEF-Ten Peaks Coffee CFO Sherry Tryssenaar To Retire

* SAYS SHERRY TRYSSENAAR, COMPANY'S CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, IS RETIRING EFFECTIVE MAY 31, 2018

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BRIEF-Avis Budget Group Comments On SRS Investment Management’s Nomination Of Directors

* AVIS BUDGET GROUP COMMENTS ON SRS INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT’S NOMINATION OF DIRECTORS

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BRIEF-United Therapeutics Settles Patent Litigation With Actavis Laboratories FL

* UNITED THERAPEUTICS ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT OF PATENT LITIGATION WITH ACTAVIS LABORATORIES FL, INC. RELATING TO ORENITRAM

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BRIEF-Dundee Precious Metals Reports Q4 Adj Earnings Per Share $0.02

* DUNDEE PRECIOUS METALS ANNOUNCES 2017 FOURTH QUARTER AND ANNUAL RESULTS AND 2018 GUIDANCE

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BRIEF-Piper Jaffray Forms Middle-Market Debt Underwriting Vehicle

* PIPER JAFFRAY COMPANIES FORMS MIDDLE-MARKET DEBT UNDERWRITING VEHICLE WITH $1.0 BILLION OF EQUITY COMMITMENTS

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BRIEF-Ichor Holdings Entered Into Amended & Restated Credit Agreement

* ICHOR HOLDINGS - ‍ON FEB 14, ENTERED INTO AMENDED & RESTATED CREDIT AGREEMENT WHICH REPLACED CERTAIN CREDIT AGREEMENT, DATED AS OF AUGUST 11, 2015​

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UPDATE 3-White House blames Russia for 'NotPetya cyber attack

* U.S. vows attack will be met with "international consequences"

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BRIEF-Ambac Financial Announces ‍Conclusion Of Rehabilitation Of Segregated Account Of Ambac Assurance Corp

* AMBAC FINANCIAL GROUP INC - ANNOUNCES ‍CONCLUSION OF REHABILITATION OF SEGREGATED ACCOUNT OF AMBAC ASSURANCE CORPORATION​ Source text: (http://bit.ly/2HhC7it) Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Nu Skin Enterprises Announces Dividend Increase

* NU SKIN ENTERPRISES INC - HAS INCREASED QUARTERLY CASH DIVIDEND TO $0.365 FROM PREVIOUS $0.36 PER SHARE Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Cohu Q4 GAAP Earnings Per Share $0.23

* COHU REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR 2017 OPERATING RESULTS

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BRIEF-Transocean Ltd. Announces Updates For Transocean Leader

* TRANSOCEAN LTD SAYS CONTRACT BACKLOG IS REDUCED BY APPROXIMATELY $112 MILLION AS A RESULT OF CONTRACT RENEGOTIATION

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BRIEF-Ames National CEO Thomas Pohlman Announced Retirement

* AMES NATIONAL SAYS THOMAS POHLMAN HAS ANNOUNCED RETIREMENT AS PRESIDENT AND CEO EFFECTIVE JUNE 29, 2018​ - SEC FILING

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BRIEF-Mulesoft Q4 GAAP Loss Per Share $0.19

* MULESOFT ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER AND FISCAL YEAR 2017

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BRIEF-Sumitomo Corporation Equity Asia Limited Reports 11.06 pct Passive Stake In Iclick Interactive Asia Group Ltd As Of Dec 31, 2017

* SUMITOMO CORPORATION EQUITY ASIA LIMITED REPORTS 11.06 PERCENT PASSIVE STAKE IN ICLICK INTERACTIVE ASIA GROUP LTD AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2017 - SEC FILING‍​ Source text - (http://bit.ly/2ErGiKy) Further company coverage:

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks climb, shrugging off inflation data; dollar falls

* Dollar weakens to 15-month low vs yen despite rising yields

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Peru LNG transport gradually coming back after pipeline rupture

LIMA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation in Peru is being gradually restored after a pipeline rupture this month choked off exports, its operator Transportadora de Gas del Peru (TGP) said on Thursday.

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UPDATE 7-Oil mixed, Brent eases on U.S. dollar weakness, WTI edges higher

* Saudi Arabia would rather see tight market than end cuts early

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U.S. regulator moves to clear market barriers for energy storage technology

WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - In a boost for electric storage technology, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday approved a new rule to remove barriers to batteries and other storage resources in U.S. power markets.

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Seadrill close to restructuring deal with bondholders -sources

OSLO/WILMINGTON, Delaware, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Seadrill's main owner, billionaire John Fredriksen, is close to a deal with unsecured bondholders and South Korean shipyards on a restructuring plan for the rig operator, sources familiar with the talks said on Thursday.

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BRIEF-Cenovus in 'active negotiations' with railways to move crude

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Cenovus Energy Inc executives, speaking on a conference call, said:

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BRIEF-Convergeone Signs Agreement To Buy Arrow Electronics' Systems Integration Business For $36 Million​

* FORUM MERGER SAYS‍ CONVERGEONE SIGNED AGREEMENT TO BUY ARROW ELECTRONICS' SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BUSINESS FOR CASH CONSIDERATION OF $36 MILLION​ - SEC FILING Source text : [http://bit.ly/2BvNFhp] Further company coverage:

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METALS-Copper rises as zinc, nickel scale multi-year peaks

* LME/ShFE arb: http://bit.ly/2wZSAEz (Releads, updates with closing prices)

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BRIEF-American Express Reports Credit Card Stats for Jan

* AMERICAN EXPRESS-USCS CARD MEMBER LOANS 30 DAYS PAST DUE LOANS AS A % OF TOTAL 1.4 PERCENT AT JAN END VERSUS 1.3 PERCENT AT DEC END

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BRIEF-CTG Announces Acquisition Of Soft Company‍​

* COMPUTER TASK GROUP INC - ALL-CASH TRANSACTION IS VALUED AT $16.5 MILLION‍​

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UPDATE 1-LyondellBasell to double its plastics business with Schulman deal

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Petrochemicals company LyondellBasell Industries NV will buy plastic composites maker A. Schulman Inc for $1.24 billion, doubling the size of its plastics business.

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BRIEF-Argos Announces Issuance Of Patent Covering The Foundation For Manufacturing Its HIV Immunotherapy

* ARGOS ANNOUNCES ISSUANCE OF PATENT COVERING THE FOUNDATION FOR MANUFACTURING ITS HIV IMMUNOTHERAPY Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Marathon Patent Group's Unit Executes Lease For A Facility In Quebec

* MARATHON PATENT GROUP EXPANDS CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING OPERATIONS WITH OPENING OF SECOND FACILITY IN CANADA

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BRIEF-Syntel Q4 Earnings Per Share $0.51

* SYNTEL REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR 2017 FINANCIAL RESULTS

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BRIEF-LiveRamp Acquires Pacific Data Partners

* LIVERAMP ACQUIRES PACIFIC DATA PARTNERS TO REVOLUTIONIZE B2B MARKETING WITH PEOPLE-BASED PRECISION

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BRIEF-Wells Fargo Asset Management Expands Multi-Asset Solutions Team With Senior Hires

* WELLS FARGO ASSET MANAGEMENT EXPANDS MULTI-ASSET SOLUTIONS TEAM WITH SENIOR HIRES Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Fortune Bay Announces An Increase To Non-Brokered Private Placement

* FORTUNE BAY ANNOUNCES AN INCREASE TO NON-BROKERED PRIVATE PLACEMENT

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Merck KGaA, Pfizer's immunotherapy fails in lung cancer trial

FRANKFURT, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Merck KGaA and Pfizer's cancer drug Bavencio could not be shown to improve survival in lung cancer patients that had previously undergone unsuccessful chemotherapy, Merck said.

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Israeli startup CommonSense Robotics raises $20 million

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel's CommonSense Robotics, whose technology enables retailers to offer quick and affordable grocery deliveries, said on Thursday it has raised $20 million in an early-stage investment round, bringing its total funding to $26 million.

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Austrian defence minister says will re-assess decision on Eurofighter programme

VIENNA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Austria's new government will re-assess the previous administration's decision to end the country's Eurofighter jet programme early, Defence Minister Mario Kunasek said on Thursday.

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Nokia starts review of digital health business

HELSINKI, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Finnish network gear maker Nokia said on Thursday it has started a strategic review of its digital health business.

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UPDATE 3-Fresh A400M charge clouds strong Airbus 2017 profits

PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Airbus took a 1.3 billion euro ($1.6 billion) hit on its delayed A400M military transport plane, lifting charges on Europe's troubled defence project above 8 billion euros and clouding higher than expected underlying profits and cash.

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UPDATE 1-Forex trading up sharply in 2018 as volatility returns

LONDON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Foreign exchange trading volumes have risen sharply since the start of this year, new data showed on Thursday, as investors ramped up bets on a weaker dollar and uncertainty about the end of the era of cheap money stoked volatility.

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Electric airplane start-up Eviation aims to enter service in 2021 after battery deal

SINGAPORE, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Electric airplane start-up Eviation Aircraft Ltd is aiming for its 9-seat commuter aircraft to be flying passengers by 2021 after signing up South Korea's Kokam as its battery supplier, the Israeli company's chief executive said on Thursday.

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FX trading volumes rise sharply in Jan, early Feb - CLS

LONDON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Foreign exchange trading volumes jumped 24 percent in January from a year earlier, data from CLS showed on Thursday, as investors ramped up bets on a weaker dollar and uncertainty about the end of the era of cheap money stoked volatility.