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    * Failure to reach U.S.-Japan trade pact weighs on Nikkei. * Escalating Ukraine tension saps investors' appetite for risk. By Lisa Twaronite. Asian stocks struggled to rise on Friday, as the impact of upbeat U.S. economic data and robust U.S. tech shares faced off against fears of an escalating Ukraine crisis that bolstered the safe-haven yen.

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    * Dollar near 1-week low vs yen on rising Ukraine tensions. * Yen shrugs off slightly smaller-than-expected Tokyo April inflation. * Euro recovers from low hit on comments by ECB's Draghi. By Hideyuki Sano. The dollar came under pressure against the yen on Friday as rising tension in Ukraine undermined optimism about U.S. economic growth following strong U.S. durable goods data.

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    Europe's high-yield bond market is moving out of the shadow of its bigger U.S. cousin and becoming a global force. The development of the market is good news for Europe's economy as it seeks to rely less on bank financing--although investors might wonder whether it still deserves the "high-yield" label. French cable operator Numericable Wednesday sold a record $10.9 billion of high-yield bonds to help fund the acquisition of telecoms business SFR from Vivendi.

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    * Vale had agreed to pay $10 bln in double-taxation dispute. * Company shares rise most in two weeks after court ruling. * Government says ruling will not change November tax settlement. By Jeb Blount.

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    *Canadian dollar at C $1.1028 or 90.68 U.S. cents* Bond prices mostly higher across the maturity curve By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, April 24- The Canadian dollar was little changed against the greenback on Thursday after a speech by the head of the Bank of Canada offered little new insight on the path of monetary policy, allowing the currency to stick to its recent...

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    By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, April 24- Canada's main stock index rose slightly on Thursday, helped by a gain in shares of Potash Corp after the company's results beat low expectations and by small increases in heavyweight banking stocks. You're not seeing buying across the board, "said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

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    TORONTO, April 24- Canada's main stock index ended slightly higher on Thursday, helped by Potash Corp beating lowly expectations and heavyweight banking stocks making small gains. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed up 20.86 points, or 0.14 percent, at 14,554.25. Eight of its ten main sectors notched gains.

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    Shares of Telekom Austria AG (TKMAF) are up 5.12% to $19.50. Carlos Slim, Chairman of American Movil SAB de CV, plans to use the Austria-based telecommunications provider as a base to increase his presence in European telecoms after sealing a deal with the Austrian state to take control of the company, Reuters reports.

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    RIO DE JANEIRO, April 24- Brazilian stocks edged lower on Thursday as geopolitical tension in Ukraine offset a surge in banking shares, which followed Bradesco's higher-than-expected first-quarter profit. Investors' appetite for risk in emerging markets subsided as Russia launched army drills near the border of Ukraine after the killing of up to five pro-...

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    * New Ukraine worries cause DAX to underperform. * FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.3 pct at 1,343.27 points. * Alstom surges on GE bid speculation. * Euro STOXX 50 rises 0.4 pct to 3,189.81 points. By Sudip Kar-Gupta. European stock markets rose on Thursday, as signs of a resurgence in corporate takeover activity offset lingering worries over Ukraine.

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    LONDON-- U.K.' s FTSE 100 index closed at its highest level in almost seven weeks on Thursday, with Smith& Nephew and AstraZeneca (AZN) leading stocks higher after well-received corporate news. The London benchmark advanced 0.4% to end at 6,703, marking its highest closing level since March 7.. The FTSE briefly dipped into negative territory in the afternoon after news reports said Russia launched military exercises near the Ukraine border in response to the latest clashes, in which at...

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    LONDON-- After a choppy trading day, European stock markets ended mildly higher on Thursday although gains were dented by escalating tensions in Ukraine with Russia beginning military drills near the Ukrainian border. The Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 0.3% to end at 336.13, pulling back from trading as high as 337.84 earlier in the day. The benchmark briefly turned lower in afternoon action after news reports said Russia launched military exercises near the Ukraine border in...

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    By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, April 24- Canada's main stock index rose slightly on Thursday, as gains in Potash Corp following better-than-expected results and in some heavyweight banks were offset by declines in gold miners. But that gain was mitigated by slips in major gold miners Barrick Gold (ABX)- off 0.7 percent at C $19.45- and Goldcorp Inc (GG), which was down 0.5...

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    President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dined on sushi in Tokyo this week, which Mr. Obama declared to be the best he's ever had. But behind the scenes, their negotiators quarreled over rice and beef tariffs.

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    * New Ukraine worries cause DAX to underperform. * FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.3 pct, erasing earlier gains. * Alstom surges on GE bid speculation. By Sudip Kar-Gupta. New signs of an escalation in tensions in Ukraine hit European stock markets on Thursday, with Germany's DAX index underperforming the broader market pullback.

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    LONDON-- Russian stocks pushed sharply lower on Thursday, dragging global markets with them as tensions between Russia and Ukraine grew more tense. Extending earlier losses, Russia's blue-chip MICEX index dropped 2.5% to 1,295.66, while the RTS index slumped 2.7% to 1,139.87. Media reported Russia's defense minister Sergey Shoigu as saying his country has begun extensive military exercises in the Ukrainian border area.

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    *Canadian dollar at C $1.1028 or 90.68 U.S. cents* Bond prices lower across the maturity curve By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, April 24- The Canadian dollar was little changed against the greenback on Thursday, sticking to its recent trading range as the market looked ahead to a speech by the head of the Bank of Canada later in the day. Central bank Governor Stephen Poloz was...

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    TORONTO, April 24- Canada's main stock index opened higher on Thursday, boosted by a bump in Potash Corp shares after the fertilizer maker beat profit expectations in a tough quarter, while upbeat earnings from U.S. tech giants also aided sentiment.