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TOP STORIES

ECB holds rates to assess deflation threat

FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank leaves interest rates unchanged, holding off policy action while it waits for new economic forecasts next month to assess the deflation threat facing the euro zone. (ECB/RATES (UPDATE 2), expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Sakari Suoninen, 640 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-BOE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Andy Bruce and William Schomberg, 530 words

GM quarterly profit misses estimate, shares drop

DETROIT - General Motors Co posts a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit as results in North America, Asia and South America disappoints, sending shares down more than 3 percent in premarket trading. (AUTOS-GM/RESULTS (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ben Klayman and Deepa Seetharaman, 490 words)

Credit Suisse misses profit forecast after legal charges

ZURICH - Credit Suisse misses expectations with a marginal uptick in fourth-quarter net profit after increased legal costs arising from U.S. probes into alleged tax evasion and the sale of mortgage-backed bonds. (CREDITSUISSE-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 3), expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Katharina Bart, 850 words)

Euro, rate futures fall after ECB; stocks keep gains

LONDON - The euro falls against the dollar and world stocks keep their gains as investors look to the European Central Bank to hint at possible future monetary easing later after leaving interest rates steady this month. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 3), moved, by Natsuko Waki, 460 words)

EXCLUSIVE

Cash-hungry Alstom points to IPO for rail arm as early as June

PARIS - Cash-hungry engineering firm Alstom may use a stock market listing to sell a stake in its transport business as early as June if a trade buyer cannot be found sooner for the maker of France's iconic high-speed trains, its transport chief says. (ALSTOM-TRANSPORT/ (EXCLUSIVE, PICTURE), moved, by Natalie Huet and Benjamin Mallet, 1,120 words)

MARKETS

Stocks rise, forint hits one-week high

LONDON - Emerging markets rises, taking back some losses ahead of a European Central Bank meeting and key U.S. jobs data this week, while a signal that Hungary's easing cycle may be nearly over lifted the forint. (MARKETS-EMERGING/ (WRAPUP 2), moved, by Carolyn Cohn, 680 words)

Emerging market turmoil means Swiss franc cap may stay

ZURICH - The rout in emerging markets is threatening to drive up the Swiss franc, making a case for the Swiss National Bank to keep its currency cap in place for some time despite some claims it is becoming less necessary. (SWISS-FRANC/EMERGING, moved, by Alice Baghdjian, 790 words)

ECONOMY

EU asks Britain to explain new "allowances" in bankers' pay

LONDON/BRUSSELS - The European Commission has asked the Bank of England to explain how new allowances in British bankers' pay comply with an EU bonus cap, an official at the bloc's executive says, a new flashpoint of friction over the reach of financial control. (EU-BRITAIN/BANKS, moved, by Huw Jones and John O'Donnell, 545 words)

German Dec industrial orders fall but upwards trend intact

BERLIN - German industrial orders unexpectedly fall in December but rise robustly on a two-month average thanks to an upwardly revised surge in November intake, suggesting industry in Europe's largest economy continues to gain momentum. (GERMANY-ORDERS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Sarah Marsh, 420 words)

Spain's medium-term bond yields hit record lows at auction

MADRID - Spain's medium-term borrowing costs falls to record lows at a bond auction, tracking broader downward pressure on euro zone yields and with investor enthusiasm underpinned by expectations of economic recovery. (SPAIN-BONDS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Paul Day, 665 words)

+ See also:

- FRANCE-BONDS/, moved, 220 words

BOJ officials signal readiness to act, warn of emerging market risks

TOKYO/MIYAZAKI, Japan - The Bank of Japan stands ready to expand monetary stimulus further if necessary to safeguard its inflation mandate, two top policymakers says, warning that the rout in emerging markets was already affecting Japanese assets. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Leika Kihara, 790 words)

French manufacturers revise up investment expectations - survey

PARIS - French manufacturing companies are raising their investment expectations for this year, a survey shows, in good news for the government as it struggles to engineer an economic recovery. (FRANCE-ECONOMY/, moved, 250 words)

Swiss trade surplus narrows sharply in Dec as imports jump

ZURICH - Switzerland's trade surplus narrows sharply in December to 503 million francs, its lowest level in four years, as a jump in imports outweighed higher exports, the Federal Customs Office says. (SWISS-ECONOMY/TRADE, moved, 470 words)

World food prices fall in January, seen contained -FAO

ROME - Global food prices fall in January, led by declines in the costs of sugar, vegetable oils, and cereals, the United Nations food agency says, adding that robust inventories should contain prices in coming months. (FOOD-FAO/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 200 words)

UK house prices rise at fastest pace in three months - Halifax

LONDON - British house prices show their biggest rise in three months in January and one measure of affordability deteriorated to its weakest since the financial crisis, mortgage lender Halifax reports, fuelling concerns of a property bubble. (BRITAIN-PROPERTY/HALIFAX (UPDATE 1), moved, by David Milliken, 390 words)

COMPANIES

As losses mount, Sony's Hirai seeks cure for TV business in spinoff

TOKYO - Sony Corp Chief Executive Offer Kazuo Hirai is seeking to cure a TV business that has lost $7.8 billion over a decade by isolating it to speed up decisions on future strategy. (SONY-EARNINGS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Sophie Knight and Reiji Murai, 950 words)

AstraZeneca profits heading south as patent losses bite

LONDON - AstraZeneca expects earnings to keep falling in 2014 as generic competition to its popular heartburn and ulcer drug Nexium takes a big bite out of U.S. profits from late May. (ASTRAZENECA-EARNINGS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ben Hirschler, 790 words)

+ See also:

- SANOFI-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Natalie Huet, 530 words

- CIRCASSIA-IPO/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Paul Sandle, 450 words

Daimler sees profit rise as new models catch on

STUTTGART, Germany - Daimler forecast a significant increase in profit this year as strong sales of its new luxury Mercedes-Benz models, such as the S-Class limousine, help it shake off past earnings disappointments. (DAIMLER-RESULTS/Q4 (UPDATE 3), moved, by Edward Taylor, 800 words)

Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International to close commodity ops

LONDON - Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International became the latest bank to withdraw from the commodities sector, hit by weaker investor interest and tougher regulation. (MITSUBISHI-UFJ/COMMODITIES (UPDATE 1), moved, by Silvia Antonioli and Eric Onstad, 480 words)

Vodafone sees signs of recovery after another torrid quarter

LONDON - Britain's Vodafone says it is finally seeing early signs of a turnaround due to a growing number of customers and the take-up of more expensive 4G services, following yet another torrid quarter hit by fierce competition in Europe. (VODAFONE/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Kate Holton and Paul Sandle, 900 words)

+ See also:

- ALCATEL-EARNINGS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Leila Abboud and Gwénaëlle Barzic, 590 words

Volvo to more than double job cuts after weak quarterly earnings

STOCKHOLM - World No.2 truck maker Volvo will increase its job cuts to 4,400, more than double its original plan, after currency effects and the cost of launching new models muted a rise in quarterly earnings. (VOLVO/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Niklas Pollard and Johannes Hellstrom, 620 words)

+ See also:

- AUSTRALIA-FORD/JOBS, moved, 270 words

- BRITAIN-AUTOS/SMMIT, moved, 100 words

Britain hands 1 bln stg Crossrail contract to home factory

LONDON - Britain says it awards a 1 billion pound ($1.63 billion) train supply contract for London's huge Crossrail project to Bombardier Inc, in a move which secures jobs in the UK where the carriages will be built. (BRITAIN-CROSSRAIL/BOMBARDIER (UPDATE 1), moved, 360 words)

AkzoNobel Q4 beats forecasts, expects to meet 2015 targets

AMSTERDAM - AkzoNobel reports slightly higher-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and says it will meet its 2015 targets even though tough economic conditions meant it will press on with restructuring and finding ways to cut costs. (AKZONOBEL-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Sara Webb, 285 words)

Hannover Re reiterates 2014 profit goal after Jan renewals

FRANKFURT - Germany's Hannover Re sticks by its aim of earning around 850 million euros ($1.15 billion) in net profit this year after securing acceptable margins on reinsurance contracts it renewed with insurance companies in January. (HANNOVERRE-RESULTS/, moved, 290 words)

Etihad's stake strategy faces new test with Alitalia move

FRANKFURT/MILAN - A potential deal to buy a stake in troubled Italian airline Alitalia could be the biggest test yet for Abu Dhabi-based Etihad's strategy of using stakes in ailing airlines as an easy way to expand its global footprint. (ETIHAD-ALITALIA/STAKE, moved, by Victoria Bryan and Agnieszka Flak, 1,190 words)

Norway's DNB profit, dividend beat all expectations

OSLO - DNB, Norway's biggest bank, beat all expectations with its fourth-quarter earnings and sharply increases its dividend as loan losses virtually evaporate. (DNB-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 275 words)

+ See also:

- DANSKE-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Teis Jensen, 390 words

- POHJOLA-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 275 words

At least eight dead in S.African gold mine accident

JOHANNESBURG, - Rescuers recover eight bodies and continue to search for another missing worker after a fire and rock-fall at a Harmony Gold mine near Johannesburg, the worst accident in South Africa's mines in nearly five years. (SAFRICA-MINERS/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Ed Cropley, 460 words)