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TOP STORIES

ECB to keep rates on hold, remind market of readiness to act

FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank is likely to keep interest rates on hold while reminding the market it will ease policy if inflation stays too low or money market conditions tighten too much. (ECB/RATES (UPDATE 1), expect by 1300 GMT/8 AM ET, by Sakari Suoninen, 715 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-BOE/ (UPDATE 1), expect by 1230 GMT/7.30 AM ET, by William Schomberg and David Milliken, 400 words

Dollar loosens choke on euro, pound ahead of ECB, BOE

LONDON - The dollar loosens its recent choke on the euro and sterling ahead of what is expected to be co-ordinated hand-sitting by the European Central Bank and Bank of England. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4, GRAPHIC), moving shortly, by Marc Jones, 760 words)

Big UK retailers feel the pain of a poor Christmas

LONDON - Marks & Spencer and Tesco, the biggest names in British retail, posted heavy falls in sales in the run up to Christmas, showing no sign of their much vaunted turnarounds and ratcheting up pressure on their leadership (BRITAIN-RETAIL (WRAPUP), expect by 1030 GMT/5.30 AM ET, By James Davey and Neil Maidment, 700 words)

China inflation hits 7-month low, eases tightening fears

BEIJING - China's annual consumer inflation slows more sharply than expected to a seven-month low of 2.5 percent in December, easing market fears of tighter monetary policy rates although the central bank is tapping the brakes on bank liquidity. (CHINA-ECONOMY/CPI (UPDATE 3), moved, by Aileen Wang and Kevin Yao, 600 words)

INSIGHT & EXCLUSIVE

Credit Suisse sticks with money-losing U.S. brokerage

NEW YORK - Credit Suisse Group is betting it can turn around its unprofitable U.S. private wealth business with new loan products and a focus on the ultra-rich, a strategy greeted with scepticism by some securities analysts and former officials at the bank. (CREDITSUISSE-WEALTH/REVAMP (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by Jed Horowitz, 1,240 words)

Singapore Airlines-Tata JV orders Airbus A320s - sources

SINGAPORE/PARIS - Singapore Airlines has picked Airbus's A320 aircraft over Boeing's 737 for the launch of its Indian airline joint venture with Tata Sons, sources familiar with the decision say. (SIA-TATA/ (EXCLUSIVE, UPDATE 2), moved, by Siva Govindasamy and Tim Hepher, 840 words)

MARKETS

Upbeat outlook, ECB seen boosting Spain, Portugal debt sales

LONDON - Spanish yields fall to new four-year lows while those of Portugal stabilise as the two countries kick off 2014 debt sales seen snapped up by investors enticed into euro zone periphery debt by an improving economic outlook. (MARKETS-BONDS/EURO (WRAPUP), expect by 1230 GMT/7.30 AM ET, by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, 600 words)

ECONOMY

UK trade deficit edges down, helped by exports within the EU

LONDON - Britain's goods trade deficit narrows slightly in November, helped by a pickup in exports to recovering economies in Europe, official data shows. (BRITAIN-TRADE/, moved, 300 words)

France trims trade deficit to about 60 bln euros - minister

PARIS - France reduced its trade deficit to about 60 billion euros ($81.60 billion) last year from 67 billion euros in 2012, the country's trade minister says, even as November figures show the monthly gap has widened. (FRANCE-TRADE (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words)

BOJ's Shirai says may take 2 years to meet inflation goal

TOKYO - Bank of Japan board member Sayuri Shirai says it may be desirable to take more than two years to achieve the central bank's inflation target if the burden on households and the corporate sector proves to be excessive, according to the text of a speech. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Stanley White, 400 words)

COMPANIES

StanChart CFO Meddings to exit after restructuring

LONDON - Standard Chartered announces the surprise departure of its finance director Richard Meddings, saying he will leave the Asia-focused bank as part of a restructuring. (STANCHART-RESTRUCTURING/ (UPDATE 3), expect by 1030 GMT/5.30 AM ET, by Matt Scuffham and Steve Slater, 600 words)

ING to take 1.2 bln euro charge to ring-fence pension fund

AMSTERDAM - ING Group says it will make its defined-benefit pension fund financially independent, resulting in an after-tax charge of about 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) and paving the way for a stock market flotation of its insurance business. (ING-PENSION/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Sara Webb, 300 words)

Raiffeisen bites cap hike bullet, shares drop

VIENNA - Shares in Raiffeisen Bank International drop as much as 9 percent after central and eastern Europe's second-biggest lender bites the bullet and announces plans to increase its equity capital by around 40 percent. (RAIFFEISEN-CAPITAL/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 470 words)

RSA concludes accounting problems confined to Ireland

LONDON - British insurer RSA blames a handful of executives for an accounting scandal at its Irish unit, but signals a new risk to its dividend after extreme weather in late 2013 added to pressure on the business. (RSA/IRELAND (UPDATE 2), expect by 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Chris Vellacott, 500 words)

EU trading plans widen global gap in bank regulations

LONDON - Europe and the United States will curb risky trading at banks in different ways in another costly reminder that global goodwill to coordinate rules is at odds with what's happening on the ground. (G20-REGULATION/, expect by 1300 GMT/8 AM ET, by Huw Jones, 770 words)

McKesson ups offer for Celesio to persuade Elliott

FRANKFURT - U.S. drugs wholesale group McKesson lifts its offer for German peer Celesio to 23.50 euros per share from 23 euros in a bid to win over hedge fund Elliott, a source familiar with the talks says. (CELESIO-MCKESSON/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1000 GMT/5 AM ET, by Ludwig Burger, 300 words)

Danone to sue NZ's Fonterra over baby formula recall

WELLINGTON/PARIS - French food group Danone says it will sue wholesale dairy exporter Fonterra and stop buying products from the New Zealand firm following a contamination scare that sparked the recall of infant milk formula across Asia. (DANONE-NEW ZEALAND/ (UPDATE 3, GRAPHICS), moved, by Naomi Tajitsu and Geert De Clercq, 745 words)

Wartsila and Rolls-Royce say bid talks have ended

HELSINKI - Rolls-Royce and Finnish engineering company Wartsila confirms the companies had been in preliminary talks on a deal, but that the discussions have ended. (WARTSILA-ROLLSROYCE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 220 words)

Teva Pharm names turnaround specialist Vigodman as CEO

TEL AVIV - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries names Erez Vigodman as chief executive officer and he will be tasked with finding a new growth strategy for the world's biggest generic drugmaker. (TEVAPHARM-CEO/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Tova Cohen, 670 words)

Apple, Samsung CEOs agree to mediation in U.S. patent fight

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics have agreed to attend a mediation session to be held on or before February 19, as they prepare to clash in court in March over smartphone patents. (APPLE-SAMSUNG/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 250 words)

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