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TOP STORIES

Roche to buy U.S. biotech firm Seragon for up to $1.7 bln

ZURICH - Roche said it will pay up to $1.725 billion to buy Seragon Pharmaceuticals, a privately-held U.S. biotech company that researches breast cancer treatments. (ROCHE-SERAGON/ (UPDATE 5), moving shortly, by Katharina Bart, 550 words)

See also:

- HEALTH ANTIBIOTICS/, moved, by Ben Hirschler, 400 words

UK house prices rise at fastest rate in over 9 years

LONDON - British house prices rose at their fastest annual pace in more than nine years last month, and prices in London have shown their biggest jump in a generation, figures from mortgage lender Nationwide show. (BRITAIN-HOUSING/NATIONWIDE (UPDATE 1), expect by 1130 GMT/7.30 AM ET, by David Milliken and Ana Nicolaci da Costa, 600 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-CONSTRUCTION/, moved, 300 words

Shares of Dutch insurer NN Group rise 5 pct in debut

AMSTERDAM - Shares in NN Group, the insurance arm of Dutch financial services company ING Group, rise more than 5 percent on their stock market debut, which is set to be Europe's largest stock flotation so far this year. (NETHERLANDS-NN GROUP/IPO (UPDATE 3), moving shortly, by Anthony Deutsch, 610 words)

+ See also:

- FINECOBANK-STOCKS/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, by Lisa Jucca and Oleg Vukmanovic, 350 words

Europe stocks mixed ahead of U.S. data

LONDON - European shares edge higher ahead of closely watched employment data from the United States following fresh highs for Wall Street and a three-year peak for Asian stocks on the back of upbeat data. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4), expect by 1030 GMT/0630 AM ET, by Lionel Laurent, 400 words)

INVESTMENT

Investors pare risky bond holdings, brace for sell-off

NEW YORK - Some of the biggest global investors have started to pull back from riskier fixed-income assets even as the U.S. Federal Reserve keeps on a green light for risk. (USA-BONDS/RISK (ANALYSIS), moved, by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, 980 words)

Banks jockey for $100 mln Samsung restructuring bonanza

HONG KONG/SEOUL - Investment bankers are jostling to win plum roles from the founding Lee family of Samsung Group, South Korea's top fee-payer, as it prepares to hand the baton to the next generation in a restructuring that could land more than $100 million in advisory fees alone. (SAMSUNG-GROUP-BANKS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Lawrence White and Joyce Lee, 900 words)

Chinese developers muscle in on Hong Kong

HONG KONG - Chinese developers are moving aggressively into Hong Kong, outbidding their cross-border rivals for prime sites as policy uncertainty and falling property prices on the mainland send them scouring for opportunities to invest overseas. (HONGKONG-PROPERTY/ (PICTURE, GRAPHIC), moved, by Yimou Lee, 950 words)

Rich Asians buy into Manila's luxury condominiums

MANILA - Yield-hungry investors from Malaysia to Japan are now buying Philippine condominium space in bulk, rotating money from favourites Hong Kong and Singapore as the authorities there have acted to cool real estate prices, property managers and consultants say. (PHILIPPINES-PROPERTY/, moved, by Siegfrid Alegado, 1,000 words)

ECONOMY

Japanese firms see BOJ falling short of prices goal

TOKYO - Japanese companies expect consumer inflation to fall short of the central bank's 2 percent target for the next five years, emphasizing the challenge it faces in trying to drive up inflation expectations through aggressive monetary stimulus. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Leika Kihara, 650 words)

Reuters monthly foreign exchange poll

BANGALORE - Reuters has surveyed more than 70 currency strategists on the outlook for dollar exchange rates against the euro, yen, sterling, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, South African rand, Russian rouble and Turkish lira. The results will be published at 1220 GMT/08.20 AM ET. The Canadian dollar outlook story will be published later on Wednesday. (MARKETS-FOREX-POLL/EURO, by Rahul Karunakar, 600 words)

+ See also:

- MARKETS-FOREX-POLL/CANADA, by Leah Schnurr, 600 words

Spain's jobless total falls by 2.68 pct to 4.45 mln

MADRID - The number of registered jobless in Spain falls by 2.68 percent in June from a month earlier, or by 122,684 people, leaving 4.45 million people out of work, data from the Labour Ministry shows. (SPAIN-ECONOMY/JOBS, moved, 100 words)

COMPANIES

Orange drops out of French telecoms merger talks

PARIS - Orange has ditched plans to take part in any tie-ups in the French telecoms market, the former monopoly says, causing share prices across the sector to drop on the prospect of the cut-throat competition continuing. (FRANCE-TELECOMMUNICATIONS/ORANGE (UPDATE 2), moved, 440 words)

JPMorgan's Dimon has throat cancer, to begin treatment

NEW YORK - JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon says he has been diagnosed with throat cancer but that the ailment is curable and he plans to remain actively involved in the largest U.S. bank's business. (JPMORGAN CHASE-CEO/ (UPDATE 4, PICTURE), moved, by David Henry, 1,135 words)

Islamic banking rebrands in attempt to go mainstream

Islamic banking is based on core principles of the religion. So it is striking that some banks are removing the word "Islam" from their names - a sign of both the potential of Islamic finance to grow, and the obstacles to it becoming mainstream. (ISLAM-FINANCING/NAMECHANGE (PICTURE), moved, by Bernardo Vizcaino, 1,100 words)

South Africa's NUMSA union says to resume wage talks

JOHANNESBURG - The head of South Africa's striking NUMSA union says wage talks with an employers group will resume on Thursday night after more than 200,000 workers in the engineering and metals industry downed tools on Tuesday. (SAFRICA-STRIKE/ (UPDATE 2, TV), expect by 1200 GMT/8 AM ET, by Zandi Shabalala, 650 words)

Intelligent cars draw investors to tech stocks

PARIS - Technology and telecoms firms could be the big winners in a connected car market that may be worth $50 billion over the next decade, luring investors away from traditional automakers. (TECH-AUTOS/STOCKS, moved, by Blaise Robinson, 980 words)

VW takes Passat upscale to escape mid-market malaise

BERLIN - Volkswagen is steering the Passat upscale, aiming to lift its No.2 selling model clear of a struggling market for mid-priced cars without alienating its core family customers. (VOLKSWAGEN-PASSAT/ (PICTURE), moved, by Andreas Cremer, 930 words)

UK's Mothercare rejects Destination Maternity bid proposals

LONDON - British mother and baby retailer Mothercare has rejected two bid proposals from Nasdaq-listed Destination Maternity, the U.S. company says. (MOTHERCARE-DESTINATION MAT/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 235 words)

Tullow books $415 mln exploration write-off

LONDON - Oil and gas producer Tullow Oil reports a $415 million pretax write-off in net exploration in the first half of 2014 after disappointing results in Mauritania, Ethiopia and Norway. (TULL-OIL/RESULTS (UPDATE 1), moved, 325 words)

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