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Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:49am EDT

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TOP STORIES

HP Billiton set to spin off unwanted assets

MELBOURNE/LONDON - BHP Billiton declares its preference for a demerger of its unwanted aluminium, manganese and nickel assets, setting the stage for the formation of a separate company that one report said could be worth at least $12 billion. (BHP BILLITON-DIVESTITURE/ (UPDATE 4), moved, by Sonali Paul and Silvia Antoniolo, 576 words)

MARKETS

Stocks, bonds set for weekly gain on loose policy

LONDON - European stocks rise and are on track for their biggest weekly gains since mid-February, while German Bund yields hold near record lows as recent weak data shortens the odds on central bank action to lift the economy. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), moved, by Nigel Stephenson, 650 words)

German yields call Japan to mind but markets trust ECB

LONDON - German bond yields at 1 percent stoke fears that the euro zone faces a lost decade of economic stagnation and deflation similar to that of Japan, where borrowing costs also hit such levels. (MARKETS-BONDS/INFLATION, expected by 1430 GMT/10.30 ET, by Marius Zaharia, 800 words)

COMPANIES

Apple begins storing users' personal data on China servers

BEIJING - Apple Inc has begun keeping the personal data of some Chinese users on servers in mainland China, marking the first time the tech giant is storing user data on Chinese soil. (APPLE-DATA/CHINA (UPDATE 2), moved, by Gerry Shih and Paul Carsten, 600 words))

Alibaba film unit finds possible accounting irregularities

HONG KONG - A media firm recently bought by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd says a review of its finances revealed possible accounting irregularities, casting doubts about the Chinese e-commerce giant's due-diligence as it prepares for a U.S. initial public offering. (ALI PICTURES-ACCOUNTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Elzio Barreto, 620 words)

Balfour reaffirms rejection of Carillion merger proposal

LONDON - British construction firm Balfour Beatty has reaffirmed its rejection of a second merger proposal from rival Carillion, publishing the detail of its doubts over the synergies achievable from any combination. (BALFOUR BEATTY-CARILLION/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 385 words)

Austrian Benko buys Germany's Karstadt, set for overhaul

DUESSELDORF/BERLIN - German department store giant Karstadt is changing hands for the second time in four years, with Austrian property investor Rene Benko set to overhaul the loss-making chain. (KARSTADT-SALE (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved, by Matthias Inverardi and Victoria Bryan, 727 words)

INSIGHT

Puerto Rico keeps lights on, but debt crisis far from over

NEW YORK - Puerto Rico managed to keep its electricity flowing this week - but creditors made it clear that the crisis enveloping the island's power utility is far from over. (USA-PUERTORICO/UTILITY (INSIGHT), moved, by Luciana Lopez, 1533 words)