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    LONDON-- European stocks climbed Thursday, hanging firmly to seven-year highs, following economic data that appeared encouraging for the eurozone's recovery prospects. The Stoxx Europe 600 gained 1% to 390.69, marking its best finish since June 2007, FactSet data showed, as the consumer goods, basic materials and telecom sectors advanced. Germany's DAX 30 swung out of the red and ended up 1% at 11,327.19, the 18th record closing high this year.

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 ends 1 pct higher, hits new 7-yr high. * Germany's DAX share index sets new record high. * InBev leads food and beverages stocks higher. * Royal Bank of Scotland falls after reporting losses. By Atul Prakash.

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    * Spanish firm raising debt for first time since sell-off. * Exchangeable bond another step towards yieldco sell-down. * Company denies bond linked to EIG JV. By Robert Smith. Abengoa (ABGB) is gearing up to issue a US$300m exchangeable bond, which will be the firm's first attempt to tap the public debt markets since the steep sell-off in its bonds late last year.

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    LONDON-- U.K. stocks finished higher Thursday, leaving the FTSE 100 with a fresh record close, with Standard Chartered PLC (SCBFF) surging as the bank named a new chief executive. But stock in Royal Bank of Scotland PLC was dragged lower following financial results and news that the firm planned to shrink. The FTSE 100 ended up 0.2% at 6,949.73, notching a record closing high.

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    Ukraine's central bank sold dollars on Thursday for the same price it had paid for them the previous day, action that appeared to help stabilise its hryvnia currency somewhat after dramatic falls earlier in the week. The dollar sales came after the bank abruptly lifted a one-day ban on nearly all commercial foreign exchange trading, which it had imposed just as suddenly on Wednesday morning.

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    * German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time. * U.S. CPI in biggest drop since 2008; core inflation rises. By Sinead Carew. Global equities declined on Thursday after a mixed bag of U.S. economic indicators and a pullback in oil prices dampened investor enthusiasm. Major U.S. equities indexes were little changed, pressured by a 1.6 percent drop in energy shares.

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    Shares of VALE, a Brazilian metals and mining company, slumped 4.35% to $7.38 in morning trading today after fourth quarter earnings missed analysts' estimates. The Rio de Janeiro-based company reported a fourth quarter loss of 5 cents per diluted share on revenue of $9.23 billion. For 2014, the miner reported earnings of 86 cents on revenue of $38.24 billion.

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    * TSX up 63.83 points, or 0.42, at 15,292.40. * Eight of 10 main index sectors advance. * Energy shares slip with oil prices. By John Tilak. Canada's main stock index reached its highest in a week on Thursday as gains in Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM), following quarterly reports from the two lenders, overcame weakness in the energy sector.

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    Canada's main stock index opened higher on Thursday as gains in Toronto Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce helped offset weakness in the energy sector. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 19.64 points, or 0.13, at 15,248.21 shortly after the open.

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    Futures pointed to a higher start for Canada's main stock index on Thursday, tracking gains in global markets. March futures on the S&P TSX index were up 0.15 percent at 8:30 a.m. ET. Canada's annual inflation cooled to 1.0 percent in January, it lowest level since November 2013, with cheaper gasoline accounting for almost all of the yearly decline, Statistics Canada said on Friday..

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct, hits new 7-year high. * Mining stocks track rally in metals prices. * Allianz drops as dividend hike disappoints. By Atul Prakash. European shares rose on Thursday as a rally in metals prices pushed basic resources stocks higher, sending the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 to a new multi-year high and Germany's DAX to a record peak.

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    European stock indices were mixed on Thursday, with core eurozone indices helped by a bigger-than-expected decline in German joblessness amid earnings reports from some of the region's largest companies. While the German unemployment rate was unchanged in February, as expected, at 6.5%, the ranks of jobless shrank by 20,000, double consensus forecasts.

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    * Italy sells five-, 10-year bonds at record low. * Borrowing costs across the bloc hit new troughs. * German seven-year bond yields turn negative. By John Geddie. Italy sold debt at a record-low cost on Thursday and borrowing costs across the euro zone tumbled to new troughs as investors stocked up before the launch of the European Central Bank's sovereign bond-buying scheme in March.

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    * German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time. * Looming ECB bond-buying, Fed chair comments in focus. * Raft of corporate earnings lift Europe higher. By Lionel Laurent. Global equities set a new record high and bond yields sank to fresh lows on Thursday as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme.

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    German insurer Allianz raised its dividend by less than expected after earnings in its core property and casualty insurance businesses lagged and asset management stalled following client defections at its U.S. unit Pimco.