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Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:01am EDT

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TOP STORIES

Yellen Fed poised to trim bond buying, rewrite guidance

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve is set to trim its bond-buying stimulus for a third time in a row, and will probably rewrite its guidance on when it might eventually raise interest rates. (USA-FED/ (WRAPUP 1), moved, by Ann Saphir, 785 words)

UK's Osborne to stick to austerity course with new budget

LONDON - British finance minister George Osborne will announce a pre-election budget that is likely to offer some tax relief to voters but will stick closely to his tough decade-long plan to fix the public finances. (BRITAIN-BUDGET/, moved, by William Schomberg, 610 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-BOE/, moved, 520 words)

- BRITAIN-JOBS/, moved, 360 words

Investors cautious ahead of Fed, eye Russia - Ukraine

LONDON - Stock markets slips, while key bond and currency markets hold steady as investors beat a cautious retreat ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision later in the day and as military tensions between Ukraine and Russia ratcheted up a notch. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 3), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Jamie McGeever, 750 words)

Stake sale turns Italy's Monte Paschi into takeover target

MILAN - Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena is set to turn into a potential takeover target after a bold stake sale by the top investor in Italy's third-largest bank ahead of a rights issue that will further reduce its holding. (MONTEPASCHI/, expect by 1030 GMT/6.30 AM ET, by Valentina Za, 500 words)

INVESTMENT

MAD support for bonds even as fingers point at Russia

LONDON - As Russia appeared to dump U.S. Treasury debt this month in the thick of a tense East-West standoff over Crimea, bond markets barely blinked - raising questions about just how brewing crises across the developing world may feed back on Western economies. (INVESTMENT-STANDOFF/ (ANALYSIS), moved, By Mike Dolan, 945 words)

EU legal opinion opens door to Tobin tax on forex

LONDON - Deals from the multi-trillion euro a day foreign exchange market could in principle be included in a tax on financial transactions, a legal opinion from European Union lawyers seen by Reuters says. (EU-TAX/BANKING (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Huw Jones, 480 words)

ECONOMY

Tepid exports cloud Japan outlook, more BOJ stimulus seen

TOKYO/OTSU - Japan's annual export growth has fallen short of market expectations and a Bank of Japan policymaker warns about the outlook as the world's third-largest economy faces a sales tax hike next month that could dent economic activity. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 2), moved, Tetsushi Kajimoto and Stanley White, 900 words)

Spanish banks face fresh property reviews for ECB check-up

MADRID - Spanish banks, slowly emerging from a 2008 property crash, will have to revalue thousands of homes and commercial buildings to meet demands of European Union regulators who are assessing the sector's financial strength, people familiar with the matter says. (SPAIN-BANKS/PROPERTY, expect by 1100 GMT/7 AM ET, by Sarah White and Jesus Aguado, 900 words)

+ See also:

- BANKS/TESTS, moved, by Andreas Kröner, 470 words

Asia business sentiment improves but global worries weigh

SEOUL - Business sentiment among Asia's top companies edges up in the first quarter, as solid improvement in the Philippines and South Korea outweighs weakness in China, India and Australia amid persistent concerns over the global economy, a ThomsonReuters/INSEAD survey showes. (ASIAPAC-COMPANIES/SENTIMENT (UPDATE 1, PICTURE, TV, GRAPHIC), moved, by Miyoung Kim, 800 words)

COMPANIES

Inditex to invest more in 2014 as sales bounce back

MADRID - Inditex, the world's biggest fashion retailer, will accelerate investment in 2014 to open more new stores after results last year are hit by falling currencies outside the euro zone and the cost of revamping flagship stores. (INDITEX/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Sarah Morris, 755 words)

BMW eyes higher U.S. production in race for sales

MUNICH - BMW says it may raise production capacity at its plant in the United States and release 12 new models as it chases record car sales and a rise in pretax profit in 2014. (AUTOS-BMW/OUTLOOK (UPDATE 1), expect by 1030 GMT/6.30 AM ET by Edward Taylor, 400 words)

French banks hope to defy odds with German push

PARIS - French banks led by BNP Paribas want to attract more business from export-oriented, family-run German companies but they face stiff competition, higher costs and a hard-to-impress customer base. (GERMANY/FRENCHBANKS, expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Andreas Kroener and Lionel Laurent, 1,300 words)

China in talks with Airbus on possible $20 bln deal -sources

China is in talks to buy at least 150 Airbus passenger jets potentially worth $20 billion when Xi Jinping pays his first visit to Europe as president at the end of this month, people familiar with the matter tell Reuters. (AIRBUS GROUP-CHINA/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Tim Hepher, 625 words)

+ See also:

- AVIATION-PRODUCTION/UDVARHAZY, moved, by Bill Rigby, 540 words

HeidelbergCement sees growth in North America, Europe

FRANKFURT - Germany's HeidelbergCement expects revenue and operating income to grow this year, before currency fluctuations, eyeing an economic recovery in North America, Britain and Germany, where it is poised to raise cement prices. (HEIDELBGCEMENT-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, 640 words)

FLSmidth expects 10 percent margin in 2015 or 2016

COPENHAGEN - Danish engineering group FLSmidth expects its core profit margin to grow to more than 10 percent next year or the year after, its chief executive tells Reuters. (FLSMIDTH/(INTERVIEW), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Teis Jensen, 500 words)

Peugeot names state-backed chairman Gallois

PARIS - PSA Peugeot Citroen's board confirms the appointment of French civil servant Louis Gallois as its next chairman as the carmaker prepares for a 3 billion euro ($4.2 billion) tie-up with China's Dongfeng Motor Group. (PEUGEOT-CHAIRMAN/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume, 480 words)

Italy's Snam agrees to buy TAG gas pipeline

MILAN - Snam, one of Europe's biggest gas transport groups, has agreed to buy a stake in the TAG gas pipeline carrying Russian gas into Italy as part of its drive to integrate Europe's patchwork of gas grids. (SNAM IT/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 260 words)

China's MMG confirms in talks to buy Glencore's Peru mine

MELBOURNE - China's MMG Ltd confirms it is in talks with Glencore Xstrata to buy the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru, an acquisition expected to cost more than $5 billion, but says there is no guarantee a deal will be agreed. (GLENCORE-LASBAMBAS/MMG (UPDATE 1) , moved, 400 words)

Roche-backed study finds Tamiflu saved lives in flu pandemic

LONDON - Using Roche's medicine Tamiflu saved lives during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic four years ago, according to a new scientific study published. (ROCHE-TAMIFLU/, moved, 275 words)