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TOP STORIES

Facebook to buy WhatsApp for $19 bln in deal shocker

Facebook Inc will buy fast-growing mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock in a landmark deal that places the world's largest social network closer to the heart of mobile communications and may bring younger users into the fold. (WHATSAPP-FACEBOOK/ (UPDATE 3, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Gerry Shih and Sarah McBride, 800 words)

World economic recovery struggling to gain traction

LONDON/BEIJING - China's vast factory sector contracts again this month and the expected acceleration in euro zone business activity fails to materialise, highlighting the fragile state of a global economy struggling to recover. (GLOBAL-ECONOMY/(WRAPUP), expect by 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Jonathan Cable and Adam Rose, 700 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-ECONOMY/PMI (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Adam Rose, 500 words

- PMI-FLASH/GERMANY, moved, 510 words

BAE sees earnings per share falling by 5-10 pct in 2014

LONDON - BAE Systems says it expects continuing U.S. budget pressures to reduce earnings per share by 5-10 percent this year, after it met market expectations with a 3 percent rise in 2013 profit. (BAE-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Brenda Goh, 600 words)

Downbeat PMI data pushes global shares lower

LONDON - Shares fall the safe-haven yen rises after surveys showing factory activity slowing in China and stuttering in Europe highlight the fragility of the global economic recovery. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), moving shortly, by Nigel Stephenson, 690 words)

EMERGING MARKETS

G20 final document to address U.S. policy impact on emerging markets

MOSCOW - The world's financial leaders will address the impact of U.S. monetary policy on emerging markets in a final document from their meeting this week in Sydney, but the wording has yet to be agreed, a Russian G20 official says. (G20/COMMUNIQUE, moved, by Lidia Kelly, 700 words)

ECONOMY

Record Japan trade deficit highlights risk of economic stumble

TOKYO/WAKAYAMA, Japan - Japan suffers a record trade deficit in January as growth in exports spurred by a weak yen is far outstripped by a surge in import costs, raising fresh doubts about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's strategy to spark an economic revival. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/TRADE (UPDATE 3), moved, by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Stanley White, 900 words)

+ See also;

-JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Stanley White, 500 words

- ENERGY-JAPAN/MOF (UPDATE 1), moved, 350 words

UK's Osborne promises budget of "hard truths" to balance economy

LONDON - British finance minister George Osborne will promise to deal with "hard truths" about Britain's unbalanced economic recovery in his annual budget next month, emphasising a need for more manufacturing exports. (BRITAIN-ECONOMY/OSBORNE, moved, by William James, 515 words)

Fed officials see more QE cuts, changes to low-rate vow

NEW YORK/ST. LOUIS - Three Federal Reserve officials says they believe the U.S. economy is gaining traction despite a recent slowdown from severe weather, allowing the central bank to stick to its plan to wind down its massive bond-buying stimulus this year. (USA-FED/ (WRAPUP 2), moved, by Jonathan Spicer and Ann Saphir, 1,045 words)

Swiss exports rise in January boosted by chemicals, pharmaceuticals

ZURICH - Swiss exports grew robustly in January, supported by strong sales of chemicals and pharmaceuticals and helped by buoyant demand from North and Latin America. (SWISS-ECONOMY/, moved, 290 words)

COMPANIES

Bayer, Novartis, others eye Merck's consumer health unit-sources

NEW YORK/LONDON - A handful of consumer and healthcare companies including Bayer AG and Novartis are exploring a deal for Merck & Co Inc's consumer healthcare business, as they seek to gain scale in a fragmented industry, according to several people familiar with the matter. (MERCK-BIDS/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Olivia Oran, Soyoung Kim and Anjuli Davies, 780 words)

Danone eyes sales acceleration in 2014

PARIS - French food group Danone says sales growth will accelerate this year as a recovery in European dairy gathers momentum and as it seeks to rebuild demand eroded by an Asian recall of high-margin infant formula products. (DANONE-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Dominique Vidalon, 660 words)

+ See also:

- DANONE-CHINA/, moved, by Adam Jourdan, 1,300 words

Swiss Re appoints David Cole as finance chief

ZURICH - Reinsurer Swiss Re appoints David Cole as its finance chief and raises its dividend after reporting an unexpected rise in net income. (SWISSRE-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Alice Baghdjian , 520 words)

Dexia limits year-end loss as funding costs fall

BRUSSELS - Nationalised Franco-Belgian financial group Dexia suffers a relatively mild 95 million euros ($130.7 million) net loss in the fourth quarter as it set aside money to cover its Puerto Rico exposure, but saw its funding costs fall. (DEXIA-RESULTS/, moved, 380 words)

UK's Centrica to woo back customers after political backlash

LONDON - Britain's Centrica, which owns the country's biggest energy supplier British Gas, says it will focus on winning back customers this year after numbers fall in 2013 in a backlash against high energy bills. (CENTRICA-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 290 words)

Air France-KLM returns to operating profit in 2013

PARIS - Air France-KLM reports a swing back to profit that was sharper than expected for last year and said it was on course to meet its main debt reduction goal in 2015 after a prolonged crisis. (AIRFRANCE-KLM/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 625 words)

Sinopec seeks private capital in multi-billion dollar retail arm revamp

HONG KONG - Sinopec Corp, Asia's largest oil refiner, plans to sell up to 30 percent of its retail oil business to private investors in a multi-billion dollar restructuring aimed at boosting the value of its sprawling downstream arm. (SINOPEC/DIVEST (UPDATE 2), moved, by Charlie Zhu, 700 words)

Germany's Henkel says forex woes to persist in first half

FRANKFURT - German consumer goods group Henkel says that weak foreign currencies would continue to hurt its results in the first half of 2014 as it reported fourth-quarter sales below expectations. (HENKEL-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 320 words)

Britain's Nationwide ahead of capital target as customers rise

LONDON - Nationwide, Britain's biggest customer-owned lender, says it is on track to hit a capital target set by the financial regulator ahead of schedule and has achieved a 20 percent increase in new customers. (NATIONWIDE-EARNINGS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Matt Scuffham, 260 words)

U.S. health insurers brace for new steep Medicare cuts

NEW YORK - The U.S. government is expected to announce this week the proposed payment rates for insurer-run Medicare plans in 2015, but industry officials say the anticipated cuts will mean higher co-pays and fewer benefits for seniors. (USA-HEALTHCARE/MEDICARE (PREVIEW), moved, by Caroline Humer, 830 words)

South Africa's AMCU union digs in on platinum strike

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) vows to continue a strike against the world's top three platinum producers, with its president describing it as a struggle "for survival." (SAFRICA-STRIKES/ (UPDATE 1, TV), moved, 275 words)

London moves a step closer to establishing yuan clearing bank

HONG KONG - The British and Chinese governments are in active discussions about setting up an renminbi clearing bank in London, a milestone that will put the city in a leading position to offer yuan trade business in Europe. (MARKETS-OFFSHORE/YUAN (UPDATE 1), moved, by Grace Li and Michelle Chen, 600 words)

INSIGHT

Have a cigar: Cuba and Europe write a business plan

BRUSSELS - Eleven months before Barack Obama's historic handshake with Raul Castro, Europe staged its own show of friendliness with Cuba, a gesture that may end up doing far more to end the communist island's isolation. (EU-CUBA/ (INSIGHT, PICTURES), moved, by Robin Emmott, 1,150 words)

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