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TOP STORIES

Stocks scale peaks, yuan drops most in three years

LONDON - World shares hit a six-year peak on the heels of a record Wall Street high, while moves by China to stamp out easy betting on the yuan triggers the currency's biggest drop in over three years. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 7), expect by 1430 GMT/9.30 AM ET, by Marc Jones, 845 words)

Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox disappears in blow to virtual currency

TOKYO - Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, looks to have essentially disappeared, with its website down, its founder unaccounted for and a Tokyo office empty bar a handful of protesters saying they have lost money investing in the virtual currency. (MTGOX-WEBSITE/ (UPDATE 2, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Ruairidh Villar and Sophie Knight, 1,200 words)

Foreign trade drives Q4 German growth as domestic demand disappoints

BERLIN - Foreign trade propels growth in Europe's largest economy in the fourth quarter while domestic demand, which has been a key growth driver throughout the rest of the year, is a drag. (GERMANY-GDP/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Michelle Martin, 500 words)

BASF sees car and consumer industries nudging profit higher

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany - BASF, the world's largest chemicals company by sales, predicts a small rise in operating profit this year, with an uncertain economic outlook tempering its optimism over growing demand from automakers and consumer goods companies. (BASF-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ludwig Burger, 330 words)

INVESTMENT

Foreign investors in Turkey face squeeze

LONDON/VIENNA - Foreign investors in Turkey are beginning to feel the effects of a sagging currency, rising inflation and a growing political power struggle, adding to fears the country may not be the source of future growth that some companies had hoped. (TURKEY-INVESTMENT/, moved, by Tom Bergin and Michael Shields, 860 words)

After solid gains, frontier markets starting to crack

LONDON - Frontier stock, currency and bond markets, which were among last year's most favoured assets, are starting to show cracks as capital flight out of developing economies accelerates. (FRONTIER-CRACKS/ (GRAPHIC), moved, 325 words)

EXCLUSIVE

Google sets roadblocks to stop distracted driver legislation

SAN FRANCISCO - Google is lobbying officials in at least three U.S. states to stop proposed restrictions on driving with headsets such as Google Glass, marking some of the first clashes over the nascent wearable technology. (GOOGLE-GLASS/LOBBYING (EXCLUSIVE, PICTURE), moved, by Dan Levine, 870 words)

ECONOMY

Germany leaves Italy and France behind in euro zone recovery

BRUSSELS - Germany is set to accelerate away from France and Italy in 2014 as the fragmented euro zone gradually recovers from its worst crisis, the European Commission says. (EUROZONE-ECONOMY/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, by John O'Donnell and Robin Emmott, 470 words)

+ See also:

- SPAIN-ECONOMY/REPORT, moved, 150 words

Reuters polls on U.S., Canadian, British housing markets

LONDON - Reuters has polled over 60 economists and analysts for their views on the outlook for the British, United States and Canadian housing markets. (PROPERTY-POLL/BRITAIN, moved, by Jonathan Cable, 600 words)

+ See also:

- PROPERTY-POLL/US, expect by 1320 GMT/8.20 AM ET, by Margaret Chadbourn, 600 words

- PROPERTY-POLL/CANADA, expect by 1420 GMT/9.20 AM ET, by Leah Schnurr and Deepti Govind, 600 words

Rate hike in Q2 2015 "not unreasonable" - Bank of England's McCafferty

LONDON - Market expectations that the Bank of England will start to raise interest rates in the spring of 2015 are "not unreasonable", BoE policymaker Ian McCafferty said in a Reuters interview, adding he was watching in particular for inflation risks. (BRITAIN-BOE/MCCAFFERTY (INTERVIEW), moved, by William Schomberg and David Milliken, 760 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-BOE/MCCCAFFERTY-STERLING (INTERVIEW), moved, by David Milliken and William Schomberg, 460 words

UK Feb retail sales grow at fastest rate since June 2012 - CBI

LONDON - British retail sales grow at the fastest pace since June 2012 in the first part of February, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry shows. (BRITAIN-RETAIL/CBI, moved, 100 words)

Innovators look to new UK oil regulator to support technology

LONDON - "Nodding donkeys" floating at sea, water injection, and "outside-in" subsea oil taps that can withstand the pressure found in the chamber of a firing gun are some of the technologies vying to keep the oil pumping in Britain's North Sea. (NORTH-SEA/TECHNOLOGY, moved, by Stephen Eisenhammer, 925 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-OIL/SURVEY, moved, by Karolin Schaps, 435 words

South Africa's Q4 GDP growth quickens, overall expansion still lacklustre

PRETORIA - South Africa's economic growth quickens in the fourth quarter of last year but not enough to lift annual output, which languishes below 2 percent as the continent's powerhouse struggles to shake off the aftermath of a 2009 recession. (SAFRICA-GDP/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Xola Potelwa, 530 words)

COMPANIES

Slim in talks with Austria on Telekom Austria pact

VIENNA - An alliance between Carlos Slim and the Austrian government to control Telekom Austria moves closer as Slim says he wants to start formal talks and Austria says it is interested. (TELEKOMAUSTRIA-SLIM/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Angelika Gruber and Georgina Prodhan, 740 words)

+ See also:

- TMOBILEUS-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 290 words

Vivendi silent on future ahead of SFR spin-off

PARIS - French media-and-telecoms company Vivendi holds off giving forecasts or proposing dividends ahead of spinning off its domestic mobile brand SFR, rattling investors who are hoping for some indication on a possible payout. (VIVENDI/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Lionel Laurent and Gwénaëlle Barzic, 715 words)

Repsol board gathers to approve $5 billion YPF settlement

MADRID - Spanish oil major Repsol's board is gathering in Madrid to approve a definitive $5 billion settlement from Argentina over assets seized in 2012, drawing a line under a two-year battle for compensation. (REPSOL-ARGENTINA/, moved, 340 words)

Blackberry appeals to loyalists with sub-$200 and 'classic' devices

BARCELONA - BlackBerry Ltd unveils a new, cheaper smartphone and a "classic" model with a keyboard as it tries to stem losses and appeal to its loyal customers in business and in emerging economies. (MOBILE-WORLD/BLACKBERRY (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, by Paul Sandle, 710 words)

+ See also:

- MOBILE-WORLD/BLACKBERRY-ENTERPRISE, moved, by Euan Rocha, 640 words)

Home Depot profit tops estimates on cost cuts

Home Depot Inc reports a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as the world's largest home improvement chain keeps a tight lid on costs to offset weak sales. (HOMEDEPOT-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Dhanya Skariachan, 220 words)

Tesco to accelerate UK turnaround plan

LONDON - Britain's Tesco, the world's No. 3 retailer, is to accelerate a turnaround plan for its key home market, stepping-up the pace of large store revamps and investment in online and convenience channels as well as price cuts. (TESCO-STRATEGY/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 325 words)

Credit Suisse to face U.S. Senate panel on tax dodging

WASHINGTON - The chief of Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group AG will square off on Wednesday against U.S. Senator Carl Levin as the veteran congressional investigator releases his latest findings on offshore tax evasion. (USA-TAX/CREDITSUISSE, moved, by Patrick Temple-West, 685 words)

French state holding firm head says not candidate for Veolia CEO

PARIS - France said on Tuesday David Azema, the head of French state holding company APE, will have to appear before a government ethics commission before he could seek the top job at water and waste group Veolia, even though he denied he was a candidate. (VEOLIA-CEO/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 460 words)

Ladbrokes sees more pain before gain from online upgrade

LONDON - Britain's second-biggest bookmaker, Ladbrokes says operating profit will take a hit in the first half of 2014 due to upgrades to its online service, as it ended another troubled year with a sharp fall in annual profit. (LADBROKES/RESULTS (UPDATE 1), moved, 470 words)

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