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TOP STORIES

Shares edge up, dollar firms as growth outlook brightens

LONDON - World stocks edge back towards 5-1/2 year highs as moves to cool lending market tensions in China give an extra boost to upbeat sentiment surrounding the global economic outlook. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4), expect by 1000 GMT/5 AM ET, by Marc Jones, 800 words)

EU's top court rejects UK challenge to short-selling law

BRUSSELS - The European Union's top court has dismissed Britain's challenge to the bloc's law on banning the short-selling of shares in market emergencies. (EU-COURT/SHORTSELLING (UPDATE 1), moved, 400 words)

Steelmaker SSAB agrees to buy Rautaruukki for $1.6 bln

HELSINKI - Swedish steelmaker SSAB has agreed to buy Finland's Rautaruukki Corp for 10.1 billion Swedish crowns ($1.6 billion) to boost its competitiveness in a weak global steel market. (RAUTARUUKKI-SSAB/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ritsuko Ando, 550 words)

ASML upbeat on demand for tablets, smartphones

VELDHOVEN, The Netherlands - ASML, the world's leading provider of tools for making computer chips, gives an upbeat outlook for the first half thanks to strong demand for tablets, smartphones and other consumer gadgets (ASML-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 3), expect by 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Sara Webb, 500 words)

INSIGHT

Deep Shell problems weigh on new boss van Beurden

LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell's chief executive Ben van Beurden has, on the face of it, played the classic "new boss" card - using a barely justified profit warning to brighten his own future by making the past look bad. (SHELL/BEURDEN (INSIGHT), moved, by Andrew Callus, 1,440 words)

INVESTMENT

Emerging currencies above lows, Chinese equities give boost

LONDON - Emerging currencies from the Turkish lira to the Russian rouble hold just above multi-year lows against the dollar as a rally in Chinese equities helps boost fragile investor sentiment towards the asset class. (MARKETS-EMERGING/, expect by 1000 GMT/5 AM ET, by Natsuko Waki, 500 words)

In age of market scrutiny, who wants in on the gold "fix"?

LONDON - Deutsche Bank's decision to put its seat at the gold fixing table up for sale has raised questions about the future of the price benchmark. (GOLD/FIX, moved, by Jan Harvey and Clara Denina, 880 words)

Daimler to launch 1st bond in China by non-financial firm

BEIJING/SHANGHAI - German automaker Daimler will become the first foreign, non-financial company to issue bonds in China's domestic market, two sources close to the deal tell Reuters. (CHINA-BOND/DAIMLER, moved, by Weihao Cao and Gabriel Wildau, 460 words)

ECONOMY

Economic confidence rises, but plenty of worries in Davos

DAVOS, Switzerland - Business leaders gathering for their annual high-profile networking forum in Davos are feeling a bit better about their companies' prospects and a lot more so about the broader economic outlook. (DAVOS-CONFIDENCE/, moved, by Ben Hirschler, 700 words)

Bank of England says no immediate need to raise rates

LONDON - The Bank of England sees no immediate need to raise interest rates, even if unemployment falls soon to the 7 percent threshold at which it will have to review its monetary policy. (BRITAIN BANK/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 300 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-JOBS/, moved, 300 words

BOJ's Kuroda shrugs off need for more easing

TOKYO - The governor of the Bank of Japan dismisses the need for additional monetary easing as prices are headed toward its inflation target and as overseas economies recover, damping expectations for more stimulus to offset the impact of a sales tax rise in April. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (UPDATE 2), moved, Leika Kihara and Stanley White, 730 words)

Reuters economic poll on Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain

LONDON - Reuters has polled nearly 50 economists on their views for the economic outlook of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. (EUROPE-ECONOMY/POLL, expect by 1420 GMT/9.20 AM ET, by Jonathan Cable, 600 words)

French taxes may decrease before 2017 - minister

PARIS - French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici says that taxes will start to decrease before 2017 if a deficit-cutting programme remained on schedule and economic growth allowed the government to revise fiscal policy. (FRANCE-TAXES/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 280 words)

Vatican bank asks Italy to normalise relations after reforms

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican bank asks Italy to resume normal financial relations that have been effectively frozen since 2010, saying it had made great progress with new anti-money laundering provisions the Italian central bank had demanded. (VATICAN-BANK/ (UPDATE 2, PICTURE), moving shortly, by Philip Pullella, 550 words)

COMPANIES

ABB says power division will miss Q4 targets amid charges

ZURICH - Swiss group ABB says its power division will miss quarterly profit targets after $260 million in charges due to project delays following storms in the North Sea and restructuring costs. (ABB-OUTLOOK/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Katharina Bart, 800 words)

DBS in talks to buy SocGen Asia private bank - sources

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG - Singapore's DBS Group Holdings is in advanced talks to buy Societe Generale's Asian private bank, a deal that will help boost its private banking assets by almost a third, sources familiar with the matter says. (SOCGEN-DBS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Saeed Azhar and Denny Thomas, 480 words)

Austria's Raiffeisen eyes up to $3.9 bln from share sale

VIENNA/FRANKFURT - Kicking off a year of capital raising by European banks, Raiffeisen Bank International could raise as much as $3.9 billion in a massive equity sale under way to strengthen the Austrian lender's balance sheet and repay state aid. (RAIFFEISEN-CAPHIKE/ (UPDATE 3), expect by 1200 GMT/7 AM ET, by Michael Shields and Arno Schuetze, 600 words)

BHP eyes boost to shareholder returns as output rises

SYDNEY - BHP Billiton posts strong quarterly iron ore, coal and copper output, putting it in a position to meet shareholder pressure for higher capital returns as spending on new projects winds down. (BHP-PRODUCTION/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by James Regan, 700 words)

Amplats says back in profit, but South Africa strikes loom

JOHANNESBURG - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) swings back into profit in 2013 as it rebounds from a wave of wildcat strikes but its recovery is threatened by looming strikes across South Africa's platinum belt. (SAFRICA-STRIKES/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ed Stoddard, 650 words)

Mohamed El-Erian resigns from Pimco, to stay on at Allianz

BOSTON - Mohamed El-Erian, heir apparent to Pimco co-founder Bill Gross, will step down as chief executive and co-chief investment officer, raising questions about the future course of Pacific Investment Management Co, the world's largest bond fund manager. (ALLIANZ-PIMCO (UPDATE 3), moved, by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, 730 words)

Russia spies on hundreds of companies - security firm

WASHINGTON - A U.S. cybersecurity firm says it has gathered evidence that the Russian government spied on hundreds of American, European and Asian companies, the first time Moscow has been linked to cyber attacks for alleged economic - rather than political - gains. (RUSSIA-CYBERESPIONAGE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Jim Finkle, 560 words)

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