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    *Nikkei rises 0.6 pct, Topix up 0.4 pct* Nonbank shares soar on report of possible easing of rules* Trading quiet as many global markets closed for Easter* Investors eye corporate earnings By Tomo Uetake TOKYO, April 21- Japanese shares climbed to a two-week high on Monday morning, led by gains in nonbank lenders on a media report the government is considering easing...

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    Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Monday. INTERNATIONAL/REGIONAL. * GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks subdued in holiday thin trade, Ukraine tensions mount. * Brent oil falls as Ukraine, Russia seek to end violence. * Gold inches up as Ukraine tensions stoke safe-haven buying. * Iran, world powers to start work on nuclear drafts next month.

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    Japanese government bond prices dipped slightly on Monday on a rise in Japanese shares, with the benchmark 10-year yield unable to break strong support at 0.6 percent. The 10-year JGB yield briefly touched a four-week low of 0.595 percent but edged back to 0.600 percent, up 0.5 basis point from Friday's settlement.

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    Asian stock markets started the week on a subdued note on Monday, as tensions in Ukraine kept investors cautious amid an absence of catalysts as several markets remained closed for the Easter holiday. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched down 0.1 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.9 percent on the back of a weaker yen.

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    * Markets subdued as Easter holiday shuts several markets. * Japan logs largest-ever trade deficit, nudges up dollar/yen. * Ukraine on the radar in wake of fresh violence. By Shinichi Saoshiro. Asian stock markets started the week on a subdued note on Monday, as tensions in Ukraine kept investors cautious amid an absence of catalysts as several markets remained closed for the Easter holiday.

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    * Dollar hits 2 1/2 week high vs yen after data shows Japan's record trade deficit. * Unrest in Ukraine likely to limit safe-haven yen's losses. * Status quo favours continued range trading for USD-strategist. By Lisa Twaronite.

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    Investors are getting impatient for more monetary stimulus in Japan. They should cool their heels. Those that stick around are likely to be rewarded.

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    Stock markets in Japan and South Korea in thin trade Friday, while many Asian markets were closed for the Good Friday holiday. The Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.5% at 14494.47, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.6%. Japanese shares are still recovering from last week, when the Nikkei fell more than 7%, its biggest single-week drop in more than three years.

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    WASHINGTON-- Chancellor Angela Merkel may keep Germany on a tight rein with her large majority in the Bundestag, but her grand coalition of the main center-right and center-left parties gives a louder voice to the smaller groups in opposition in the Parliament. This is particularly true of the Left Party, which edged out the Greens as the leading opposition party and is using that stage to oppose Merkel's policies in Europe, and more recently in Ukraine. The Left Party, formed in 2007...

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    Long-suffering investors in Chinese state-owned enterprises are excited about Beijing's plans to reform the sector. Long term, they are likely to be disappointed. A major Communist Party meeting in November launched the current round of state-sector reform.

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    *Canadian dollar at C $1.1013 or 90.80 U.S. cents* Bond prices lower across the maturity curve By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, April 17- The Canadian dollar firmed against the greenback on Thursday after data showed domestic annual inflation was stronger than expected in March, boosted by higher energy costs. Canadian inflation numbers are clearly turning higher,...

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    *TSX rises 53.87 points, or 0.37 percent, at 14,500.39* Index jumps 1.7 percent on week* Six of 10 main index sectors advance* Gold-mining shares slip with bullion By John Tilak TORONTO, April 17- Canada's main stock index reached its highest in nearly six years on Thursday after positive U.S. economic data drove gains in the price of oil, which in turn lifted shares of...

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    TORONTO, April 17- Canada's main stock index reached its highest in nearly six years on Thursday after positive U.S. economic data drove gains in the price of oil, which in turn lifted shares of the commodity's producers. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed up 53.87 points, or 0.37 percent, at 14,500.39.

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    * Signs of diplomacy seen to ending violence in Ukraine. * Yellen stresses need for interest rates to stay low. * Sterling reaches near 4-1/2-year high vs greenback. * U.S., U.K., European markets to close for Good Friday. By Richard Leong.

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    NEW YORK-- The dollar rose against the Japanese yen Thursday after a round of positive U.S. data in a holiday-shortened week. The U.S. stock market is closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday. Jobless claims edged up by 2,000 to 304,000 in the week ended April 12, remaining near their lowest level since 2007. Economists had expected claims to hit 315,000, according to a MarketWatch survey.

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    LONDON-- European stocks settled higher Thursday, with Barclays PLC (BCS) pacing a rise in banking shares as the firm planned to outline its growth strategy, but shares of Rémy Cointreau SA struggled following the cognac maker's profit warning. The Stoxx Europe 600 recovered for a gain of 0.5% to 332.43, following an upswing for U.S. stock futures as weekly jobless claims came in ahead of expectations. The index finished the holiday-shortened week with a 1.1% advance.