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TOP STORIES

Europe holds ground after risk aversion roils Asia; yen rallies

LONDON - European shares are fighting to hold their ground after a turbulent day for Asia markets that see a sudden reversal in some very popular, and thus crowded, trades. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Marc Jones, 715 words)

China services sector falls to four-month low

BEIJING - Growth in China's services sector falls to a four-month low as business expectations drop, a government survey shows, adding to evidence that the world's second-largest economy lost steam into the close of 2013. (CHINA-ECONOMY/PMI (UPDATE 1, PICTURE), moved, by Koh Gui Qing and Jonathan Standing, 400 words)

UK's Next shares hit record after strong Christmas sales

LONDON - Next Plc, Britain's second-largest clothing retailer, raises its yearly profit outlook on the back of pre-Christmas sales that topped its own forecast, placing it firmly among the sector's winners in the festive trading season. (NEXT/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by James Davey, 700 words)

+ See also:

- RETAIL-BRITAIN/FACTBOX, moved, 250 words

Economy a liability for Turkey's scandal-hit government

ISTANBUL - When a senior Turkish businessmen publicly criticised the central bank this week for failing to stabilise the tumbling currency, he was taking aim at a pillar of support for the government: its reputation for strong economic management. (TURKEY-CORRUPTION/ECONOMY (PICTURE, GRAPHIC), expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Andrew Torchia, 1,000 words)

MARKETS & INVESTMENT

Fall in overnight rates eases pressure on ECB to ease-for now

LONDON - A plunge in euro zone money market rates eases the immediate pressure on the European Central Bank to relax monetary policy but the upward trend in rates may resume later this year. (MARKETS-MONEY/, expect by 1530 GMT/10.30 AM ET, by Marius Zaharia, 800 words)

Fed taper may be bitter medicine to heal emerging markets

LONDON - If the medicine tastes bad, it's probably doing you good. Or so emerging economies could console themselves as they are buffeted by market storms and capital exodus linked to the end of U.S. stimulus. (EMERGING-REFORMS/ (ANALYSIS), expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Sujata Rao, 800 words)

ECONOMY

Mitterrand's shadow looms as Hollande seeks to revive France

PARIS - Francois Hollande's admiration for Francois Mitterrand is known to run deep, with the French president taking inspiration from his Socialist predecessor for his policies and even turns of phrase. (FRANCE-ECONOMY/, expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Leigh Thomas, 850 words)

Housing helps UK to strong 2013, investment doubts loom for 2014

LONDON - Strong construction growth and fast-rising house prices suggest Britain's economy finished 2013 on a high, but data showing a big fall in business lending raises doubts about how sustainable the recovery will prove this year. (BRITAIN-LENDING/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, by David Milliken, 870 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-PROPERTY/NATIONWIDE, moved, by David Milliken, 475 words

- PMI-CONSTRUCTION/BRITAIN, moved, by David Milliken, 300 words

Portugal to make up rejected pension cuts with one-off levies

LISBON - Portugal plans to introduce temporary measures such as widening pension contributions to make up for public sector pension cuts rejected by the constitutional court last month, a minister says. (PORTUGAL-SPENDING/CUTS, moved, 475 words)

Euro zone corporate lending shrinks at record pace in Nov

FRANKFURT - Lending to companies in the euro zone contracted at the fastest pace on record in November, piling pressure on the European Central Bank to do more to revive the currency bloc's economy. (EUROZONE/M3 (UPDATE 1), moved, by Eva Taylor and Sakari Suoninen, 570 words)

Spain's December jobless rate sinks, recovery still muted

MADRID - The number of registered jobless in Spain falls by 2.24 percent in December, adding to evidence of a gradual economic recovery, though seasonal factors played a role in what is the biggest drop ever for the month. (SPAIN-ECONOMY/JOBLESS (UPDATE 1, PICTURE, TV), moved, 400 words)

+ See also:

- SPAIN-ECONOMY/PRICES, moved, 100 words

- ECB/SPAIN-BONDS (UPDATE 1), moved, 150 words

- ITALY-SPAIN/PRICES, moved, 340 words

COMPANIES

Telecom Italia shares lifted by TIM Brasil sale talk

MILAN - Shares in Telecom Italia approaches a two-month high, lifted by a report that Spain's Telefonica is readying a joint offer for its Brazilian wireless unit TIM Brasil. (TELEFONICA-TIM/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Stephen Jewkes and Valentina Za, 370 words)

Spain starts diplomacy over Sacyr row with Panama

MADRID - Spain's government is pushing for talks to resolve a dispute over a $1.6 billion cost overrun on works to expand the canal headed by Spanish builder Sacyr, Spain's ambassador to Panama says. (SACYR-PANAMA/ (PICTURE), moving shortly, by Jose Elías Rodríguez, 380 words)

China's oddball demolition king eyes the New York Times

BEIJING - Chen Guangbiao has never acquired a company. The 45-year-old recycling magnate has also never worked in the media industry or become proficient in English. (CHINA-TIMES/ (NEWSMAKER, PICTURE), moved, by Megha Rajagopalan, 700 words)

Remy Cointreau shares fall after CEO abruptly resigns

PARIS - French spirits group Remy Cointreau says its Chief Executive Officer Frederic Pflanz has resigned, for personal reasons, after only three months in the job. (REMYCOINTREAU-SHARES/, moved, by Astrid Wendlandt, 380 words)

Future of F1 boss Ecclestone could be settled in court

LONDON - Bernie Ecclestone risks losing his decades-old grip on Formula One motor racing this year, when legal action stemming from the sale of a stake in the sport eight years ago reaches a climax. (BRITIAN-ECCLESTONE/CASE, moved, by Keith Weir, 670 words)

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