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TOP STORIES

Factory activity in Asia, Europe falters on cooling demand

BANGALORE - Factory activity across Asia and Europe cooled in August after a strong performance in July as demand tapered amidst a patchy recovery in China and tensions in Ukraine. (GLOBAL-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP), expect by 1030 GMT/06.30 AM ET, by Sumanta Dey, 600 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-ECONOMY/PMI-OFFICIAL (UPDATE 2), moved, by Koh Gui Qing, 900 words

- PMI-MANUFACTURING/GERMANY, moved, 310 words

- PMI-MANUFACTURING/BRITAIN, moved, 390 words

Europe plans emergency measures for Russian winter gas cut

LONDON - The European Union may resort to emergency plans like banning re-exports of gas or limiting industrial consumption to safeguard household supplies if the Ukraine crisis leads to a disruption of Russian exports this winter. Yet whatever the bloc does, it won't be enough to compensate fully if the gas stops, analysts say. (UKRAINE-CRISIS/GAS-EU, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Henning Gloystein, 950 words)

Europe holds nerve as Russia-Ukraine warnings ratchet up

LONDON - European markets cautiously set aside weekend warnings that Russia's conflict with Ukraine is sliding out of control, as investors concentrate on this week's meeting of the European Central Bank and hopes it will strengthen its stimulus plans. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4), moving shortly, by Marc Jones, 835 words)

+ See also:

- RUSSIA-MARKETS/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 450 words

Barclays sale nearly wraps up Spanish consolidation

MADRID - The sale of Barclays banking operations in Spain rounds off a major upheaval of the country's financial system after a deep crisis, as domestic lenders draw a line under large acquisitions for now in a much more concentrated market. (SPAIN-CAIXABANK/BARCLAYS (UPDATE 1), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Sarah White, 650 words)

INVESTMENT

Investors start to brace for Ukraine debt restructuring

LONDON/KIEV - Global investors' view of Ukrainian bonds as a relatively safe bet anchored by Western support, is taking a battering as the country's economic gloom deepens, with many starting to brace for some form of debt restructuring. (UKRAINE-CRISIS/DEBT, expect by 1200 GMT/8 AM ET, by Sujata Rao and Alessandra Prentice, 850 words)

New GPIF investment manager drawn to cheap Japan mid-caps

TOKYO - A new investment manager responsible for a small chunk of the $1.2 trillion portfolio held by Japan's giant public pension fund says it expects to buy stocks in midsize companies that appear cheap relative to the broader market and have decades of steady profits. (JAPAN-FUNDING/STRATEGY, moved, by Ayai Tomisawa, 900 words)

China authorises local government bodies to issue bonds

SHANGHAI - China's parliament has formally approved changes to the budget law allowing local governments to issue bonds directly, a reform that could help stabilise government financing by creating the country's first municipal bond market. (CHINA-BUDGET/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Pete Sweeney, 700 words)

ECONOMY

Investor eyes pinned on ECB as Europe's health deteriorates

BRUSSELS - The European Central Bank meeting on Thursday is the prime event for markets seeking clarity on the bank's response to a stalled recovery, disappearing inflation and the sluggish pace of reform in the euro zone. (GLOBAL-ECONOMY/WEEKAHEAD, moved, by Martin Santa, 830 words)

Japan Q2 GDP seen little changed after MOF capex data

TOKYO - Japanese firms raise capital spending in April-June from a year earlier for a fourth consecutive quarter, but a quarter-on-quarter decline suggests revised data will likely confirm the economy's deepest contraction since the March 2011 disaster. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/CAPEX (UPDATE 1), moved, by Tetsushi Kajimoto, 500 words)

+ See also:

- JAPAN-ECONOMY/BOJ (PREVIEW, UPDATE 1), moved, by Leika Kihara, 850 words

UK manufacturing growth cools as export orders slip - EEF

LONDON - Britain's main manufacturing trade association trimmed its growth forecast for 2014 after its members reported the first fall in export orders since early 2013. (BRITAIN-MANUFACTURING/EEF, moved, 255 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-LENDING/, moved, 300 words

Central bank rule handicaps India's infrastructure hopes

MUMBAI/SINGAPORE - A central bank ban on Indian banks buying new issues of infrastructure bonds has handicapped Prime Minister Narendra Modi's chances of gathering billions of dollars needed for mega-projects through the bond market. (INDIA-CENBANK/INFRA BONDS, moved, by Suvashree Choudhury and Manju Dalal, 800 words)

Tantrums, concubines, hotpot burns: insurers have it covered

HONG KONG - Your child throws a tantrum and smashes something? Take out "naughty child insurance". Similarly, buy cover against your bride becoming pregnant before the honeymoon, your team being knocked out of the soccer World Cup, burning your tongue eating hotpot or if smog ruins your holiday. (CHINA-INSURANCE/, moved, by Clare Baldwin and Diana Chan, 900 words)

COMPANIES

Norwegian Cruise nears $3 bln Prestige Cruises deal -sources

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the world's third largest cruise operator, is in advanced talks to acquire peer Prestige Cruises International Inc for around $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. (NORWEGIANCRUISE PRESTIGECRUISES/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis, 400 words)

"Most exciting ever" Novartis drug points to huge sales

BARCELONA - Sales forecasts for Novartis's new heart failure drug are being ratcheted up sharply by analysts after strikingly good clinical trial results for a product doctors expect to transform treatment of the deadly disease. HEALTH-HEART/NOVARTIS-DRUG (UPDATE 1), expect by 1000 GMT/6 AM ET, by Ben Hirschler, 700 words)

Focus on T-Mobile US at Iliad results

PARIS - Upstart French mobile company Iliad puts flesh on the bones of its second quarter results at a news conference where the focus will be on whether and how it might make a second attemt to acquire Deutcshe Telekom's T-Mobile US business (ILIAD-RESULTS/T-MOBILE, (PIX) expect by 1100 GMT/7 AM ET, by Leila Abboud, 500 words)

Heineken to sell Mexican can, bottle maker to Crown

AMSTERDAM - Dutch brewer Heineken has agreed to sell its Mexican packaging business Empaque to Crown for $1.23 billion including debt, shedding a non-core business it acquired when entering the Mexican market in 2010. (HEINEKEN NL-CROWN HOLDINGS/DIVESTITURE (UPDATE 1), moved, 280 words)

China gives Microsoft 20 days to give anti-trust explanation

BEIJING - A Chinese anti-trust regulator says it has given Microsoft Corp 20 days to reply to queries on the compatibility of its Windows operating system and Office software suite amid a probe into the world's largest software company. (CHINA-ANTITRUST/MICROSOFT (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words)

Finland's Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant delayed until late 2018

HELSINKI - Finland's Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor will be delayed until late 2018, construction consortium Areva-Siemens says, prompting a disgruntled statement from its client Teollisuuden Voima (TVO). (FINLAND-NUCLEAR/OLKILUOTO3 (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, 525 words)

Swatch prefers go-it-alone route for smartwatch plans

BIEL, Switzerland - Swatch Group is happy to go it alone with a launch next year of watches with "smart" new features to compete with so-called wearable gadgets from the big tech companies, a market potentially worth $93 billion. (SWATCH-SMARTWATCHES/ (INTERVIEW, PICTURE), moved, by Silke Koltrowitz, 935 words)

Cavernous Swiss power plant undermined by renewable energy

LE CHATELARD, Switzerland - Deep in a Swiss mountain, workers have blasted out a cathedral-sized hole for a power plant that will help keep Europe's lights on, but the profit outlook for the 1.9 billion Swiss franc ($2.1 billion) project has darkened since its construction began in 2008. (UTILITIES-SWISS/PUMPEDSTORAGE, moved, by Geert De Clercq, 1,130 words)

China banks seek new lending horizons as bad debts rise

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG - Grappling with a slowing economy, China's biggest banks are turning their back on mainstay borrowers like manufacturers and courting high growth industries such as healthcare, food and IT in a bid to boost revenue. (CHINA-BANKS/LOANS, moved, by Engen Tham and Lawrence White, 500 words)

Samsung Heavy to absorb Samsung Engineering for $2.5 bln

SEOUL - Samsung Heavy Industries will absorb Samsung Engineering for about $2.5 billion, the latest step in a restructuring at South Korea's largest conglomerate that has accelerated since the controlling Lee family's patriarch was hospitalised in May. (SAMSUNG HVY IND-SAMSUNG ENGINEERING/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Joyce Lee and Se Young Lee, 790 words)