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TOP STORIES

German economy grew a weaker than expected 0.4 pct in 2013

BERLIN - The German economy grew by a weaker than expected 0.4 percent last year, its worst performance since the global financial crisis in 2009, with strong domestic demand only partially offsetting the continued negative impact of the euro crisis. (GERMANY-ECONOMY/GDP (UPDATE 1), moved, 320 words)

EU reaches deal on sweeping securities reform

LONDON - Curbs on commodity speculation and ultra-fast share trading will be introduced across the European Union under an agreement reached on a broad reform of securities markets. (EU-MIFID/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Huw Jones, 670 words)

+ See also:

- FINANCIAL-REGULATION/BUDGET, moved, by Sarah N. Lynch, 600 words

Hollande allies hail new “social democrat” vision

PARIS - Francois Hollande’s allies dismiss suggestions the Socialist French president has lurched right with plans to cut public spending and the taxes on business, hailing a new “social democrat” vision. But doubts remain on whether he can deliver. (FRANCE-HOLLANDE/ (UPDATE 1), expect by 1200 GMT/7 AM ET, pix, tv, by Mark John, 800 words)

Global growth hopes drive stocks, dollar higher

LONDON - Share markets are mostly higher as the World Bank upgrades its outlook for the global economy while the dollar extends gains in the wake of surprising strength in U.S. consumer spending. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4 ), moved, by Marc Jones, 750 words)

INVESTMENT

Brighter IPO outlook to cushion emerging markets

LONDON - From Tunis to Beijing, a growing number of emerging companies are set to tap equity investors to fund their expansion in 2014 in a sign of improving corporate confidence that could cushion negative effects from a wind-down in U.S. monetary stimulus. (EMERGING-IPO/, expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Natsuko Waki, 700 words)

Private equity struggles to kill off “zombie” funds

LONDON - The $115 billion plus of money stuck in private equity funds that are poorly performing, no longer have an incentive to make money but are still accruing fees, is leaving investors increasingly disgruntled. (PRIVATE-EQUITY/, expect by 1200 GMT/7 AM ET, by Tommy Wilkes, 800 words)

Hong Kong shakes off lean spell as it regains IPO swagger

HONG KONG - After three lean years, Hong Kong bankers are looking forward to a surge in fees in 2014 as the city regains its swagger with a slew of big-money initial public offerings. (HONGKONG-IPOS/, moved, by Elzio Barreto, 850 words)

+ See also:

- MALAYSIA-IPOS/IOI (UPDATE 3), moved, by Yantoultra Ngui, 600 words

- MALAYSIA-IPOS/ (FACTBOX, UPDATE 1), moved, 635 words

ECONOMY

World Bank sees stronger growth as rich economies expand

WASHINGTON - The World Bank raises its forecast for global growth for the first time in three years as advanced economies started to pick up pace, led by the United States. (WORLDBANK ECONOMY/, moved, by Anna Yukhananov, 500 words)

UK to EU: Reform or lose us as a member

LONDON - British finance minister George Osborne will warn the European Union it must reform if it wants Britain to remain a member, and say it faces decline if it resists change, says an official familiar with the contents of his speech. (BRITAIN-EU/OSBORNE, moved, by Andrew Osborn, 640 words)

Turkish politics, US Fed, could pose risk to Turkey’s growth

ANKARA - Domestic politics and U.S. monetary policy could pose a risk to Turkey’s four percent economic growth target this year, but any slowdown will be temporary, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek says. (TURKEY-ECONOMY/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 300 words)

Recession-weary Italians catch nostalgia for lira

ROME - Twelve years since Italy introduced the euro, the national mint is still stamping Italian lire - and recession fatigue means nostalgia for the retired national currency is going strong. (ITALY-LIRA/NOSTALGIA (PICTURE), moved, by Naomi O‘Leary, 820 words)

Russian cbank backs free float as economic shock absorber

MOSCOW - Russia’s central bank has no exchange rate target and is shifting towards a free float of the rouble to insulate the real economy from volatility on global markets, First Deputy Chairwoman Ksenia Yudayeva says. (RUSSIA-ROUBLE/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Douglas Busvine and Jason Bush, 680 words)

+ See also;

- EMERGING-RUSSIA/, expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Sujata Rao, 700 words

China bank lending slows as PBOC walks policy tightrope

BEIJING - China’s new bank lending slowed more than expected in December and broad money supply growth also eased, highlighting the policy tightrope the central bank must walk as it tries to contain risky debt levels without braking the economy too hard. (CHINA-ECONOMY/MONEY (UPDATE 2, PICTURE), moved, by Aileen Wang and Kevin Yao, 500 words)

COMPANIES

Boeing 787 grounded for checks after battery vents smoke

TOKYO/SEATTLE - A Japan Airlines (JAL) Boeing 787 Dreamliner remains grounded at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport as regulators demand checks to see if the aircraft is fit to fly, a day after white smoke vented from the plane and a battery cell showed signs of melting. (JAPANAIRLINES-787/BATTERY (UPDATE 5, PICTURE), moved by Tim Kelly and Alwyn Scott, 1,200 words)

Monte Paschi issue crucial for Italy banking system-chairman

MILAN - Failure by Italy’s troubled Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena to carry out a $4 billion capital hike later this year would bring down the country’s entire banking system, Chairman Alessandro Profumo told Italian daily La Repubblica. (MONTEPASCHI/ (UPDATE 2), 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Lisa Jucca, 550 words)

UK opposition calls for block on RBS bonuses

LONDON - Britain’s opposition Labour Party calls on the government to veto any plans by state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland to pay staff bonuses worth twice their salaries (RBS-BONUSES/, expect by 1030 GMT/5.30 AM ET, by Matt Scuffham, 600 words)

Burberry cautions on forex after strong Christmas

LONDON - British luxury brand Burberry posts strong Christmas sales though it cautions that its annual profit could be dented by exchange rates headwinds in the second half.(BURBERRY-Q3 SALES/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1030 GMT/5.30 AM ET, by James Davey, 650 words)

+ See also:

- H&M/, moved, 100 words

JPMorgan set to reap rewards of playing it safe on rates

In 2010, senior executives at JPMorgan Chase & Co came to realize that interest rates, already at zero for more than a year, ultimately had only way to go: up. Then they waited. And waited. (JPMORGAN-RESULTS/ (ANALYSIS), moved, by David Henry, 1,000 words)

Sanofi to scour natural world for new antibiotics

LONDON - French drugmaker Sanofi is teaming up with a German research centre to find new antibiotics in the natural world, highlighting a re-emerging interest in infectious diseases among certain pharmaceutical companies. (SANOFI-ANTIBIOTICS/, moved, 150 words)

Tullow starts development plans for new Kenyan oil region

LONDON - Britain’s Tullow Oil has started working on plans to develop oil discoveries in northern Kenya in the belief that the area will become a significant oil-producing region, it says. (TULLOW-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 340 words)

Toyota calls out Musk as green car battle heats up

DETROIT - In an escalation of the auto industry’s war of words over future green technologies, a senior Toyota Motor Corp executive singles out Elon Musk and other rival executives and makes a bold prediction for its hydrogen car. (AUTOSHOW-TOYOTA/FUELCELL, moved, 450 words)

China’s Huawei profit jumps on smartphones, US asks Hua-who?

BEIJING - China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, known more for its telecom networking prowess than its razor-thin smartphones, is starting to see success in its consumer electronics business, though the key U.S. market remains elusive. (HUAWEI-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Paul Carsten, 850 words)

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