DJIA: 17,712.66  +34.43 (0.19%) | NASDAQ: 4,891.219  +27.857 (0.57%) | S&P 500: 2,061.02  +4.87 (0.24%) Markets closed

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    * European shares head for worst week since mid December. * Euro zone periphery yields up for second week. * Crude dips as market reassesses conflict in Yemen. * Dollar stands tall after bouncing on upbeat U.S. data. * Market focus on Fed Chair Yellen's speech later in session. By Marc Jones.

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    Japanese stocks break weekly winning streak. HONG KONG-- Chinese stocks ended mixed Friday, but Hong Kong shares posted a modest advance for the week, while Shanghai's benchmark scored its third straight week of gains. Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index ended marginally lower, down less than 0.1%.

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    * Fed officials signal still on track for 2015 rate hike. * Dollar extends previous day's bounce from lows. * Speech by Fed Chair Yellen next in focus. By Jemima Kelly. The dollar climbed broadly on Friday, extending a rebound begun the previous day after Federal Reserve officials signalled they were still on track to raise interest rates this year.

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    * Market optimistic Portugal will regain investment status. * Fitch to review Portugal credit rating after Europe close. * Smaller DBRS to review Italy's rating. By Emelia Sithole-Matarise. Portuguese bond yields fell on Friday on expectations that credit ratings agency Fitch may upgrade the country back to investment grade after it successfully exited its international bailout last year.

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.6 pct after losing 1.9 pct in 2 days. * Euro zone shares recover as euro falls back. * Novo Nordisk up 8.6 pct after deciding to submit drug data. By Blaise Robinson. European stocks rose in early trade on Friday, halting a sharp two-day retreat as a renewed fall in the euro helped boost exporters' shares.

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    European stocks rose in early trade on Friday, halting a sharp two-day retreat as a renewed fall in the euro currency helped boost the shares of exporting companies. At 0804 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.7 percent at 1,584.88 points, after losing nearly 2 percent in two sessions.

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    * Selloff precedes next week's 10-year sale, fiscal year-end. * Cash bonds weaken as BOJ doesn't buy in 5-10 year zone. * JGB futures skid in tandem with stock futures. By Lisa Twaronite. Japanese government bonds skidded sharply on Friday, as investors sold both cash bonds and futures before the end of Japan's fiscal year.

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    * Nikkei down 1.4 pct for the week, snapping 6-week winning streak * Hedge funds take profits before Jan-March quarter ends - traders * Futures volume largest since March 11 By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 27 - Japan's Nikkei share average gave up early gains and fell to its lowest level in more than a week on Friday, led by futures selling as hedge funds took profits from its recent rise.

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    When it comes to oil, China's state energy behemoths have become more predictable, market-driven entities. But for increasingly important natural gas, investors still must turn to Beijing for clarity. PetroChina (PTR), the country's largest producer of oil and gas, emphasized frugality late Thursday when it reported 2014 results.

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    LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 16 to 20 points higher, or up 0.3 percent, on Friday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on * The UK blue chip index closed 1.4 percent lower at 6,895.33 points in the previous day, bringing the drop since a record high hit on Tuesday to 2.4 percent. * MINERS - Three-quarters of China's domestic iron ore capacity is incurring losses, an industry official said on Friday, as a sustained slump in the price of the steelmaking commodity batters higher cost producers. * RIO TINTO - Anglo Australian miner Rio Tinto plans to cut jobs in mergers and acquisitions and business development, three sources said, to cut costs as it battles a slump in commodity prices. * EVRAZ - Russian coking coal miner Raspadskaya, controlled by steelmaker Evraz, said on Friday it would not pay dividends on its 2014 results. * INSURERS - Britain's financial regulator broke its own rules by failing to keep markets orderly when it mishandled the announcement of a review into life insurance policies, lawmakers said on Friday. * RBS - In 2007, a Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc employee emailed his boss with his view of a sample of mortgages underlying a bond that the bank was underwriting: "This one is crap." Fred Goodwin has been told to disclose personal emails he sent in the run-up to Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc 2008 rights issue, as part of a 4 billion pounds court case, The Telegraph repoted late on Thursday. (http://bit.ly/1BvOE73) * UK CORPORATE DIARY: Symbol Company Event Carnival PLC Q1 2015 TODAY'S UK PAPERS > Financial Times > Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit http://topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit http://topnews.reuters.com ($1 = 0.6740 pounds) (Reporting By Francesco Canepa)

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    PARIS, March 27 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Friday, halting a sharp two-day retreat as a renewed fall in the euro currency was set to help the shares of exporting companies. The euro dipped on Friday, at $1.0866, well below Thursday's intraday high of $1.10525. European shares have strongly rallied in the past six months as investors bet a sharp drop in the euro currency will boost the region's economy and lift corporate results. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 16 to 20 points higher, or up 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX to open 36 to 50 points higher, or up 0.5 percent, and France's CAC 40 to open 4 to 10 points higher, or up 0.2 percent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0634 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,082.17 0.17 % 3.63 NIKKEI 17854.23 1.24 % 219.09 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 462.98 0.23 % 1.06 EUR/USD 1.2178 0.06 % 0.0007 USD/JPY 120.30 -0.31 % -0.3700 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.245 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.593 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,178.91 0.3 % $3.55 US CRUDE $56.68 -0.77 % -0.44 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks mixed as Mideast worries linger > US STOCKS-Wall St ends down in choppy session, but off lows > Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes down 0.95 pct > TREASURIES-Weak seven-year auction sends yields higher > Dollar off lows but poised for second weekly loss; Yellen in focus > PRECIOUS-Gold dips after 7-day rally but set for second weekly gain > London copper set for 3rd weekly gain as mine supply drops > Oil prices fall more than $1 as supply threat eases (Reporting by Blaise Robinson)

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    PARIS, March 27 (Reuters) - Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 16 to 20 points higher, or up 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX to open 36 to 50 points higher, or up 0.5 percent, and France's CAC 40 to open 4 to 10 points higher, or up 0.2 percent. MAJOR EUROPEAN COMPANIES REPORTING: Q4 2014 Prada SpA Earnings Release Full Year 2014 Buzzi Unicem SpA Earnings Release Q1 2015 Carnival PLC Earnings Release Q4 2014 Salzgitter AG Earnings Release MAJOR U.S. COMPANIES REPORTING : Q1 2015 Carnival Corp MAJOR MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS (GMT) : 0700 DE Import Prices Feb 0745 FR Consumer confidence Mar 0900 IT Industrial orders Jan 1000 IT Retail sales Jan 1230 US GDP final Q4 1230 US core PCE prices final Q4 1400 US U Mich sentiment Mar ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0623 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,082.17 0.17 % 3.63 NIKKEI 17854.23 1.24 % 219.09 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 462.98 0.23 % 1.06 EUR/USD 1.2178 0.06 % 0.0007 USD/JPY 120.30 -0.31 % -0.3700 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.245 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.593 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,178.91 0.3 % $3.55 US CRUDE $56.68 -0.77 % -0.44 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks mixed as Mideast worries linger > US STOCKS-Wall St ends down in choppy session, but off lows > Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes down 0.95 pct > TREASURIES-Weak seven-year auction sends yields higher > Dollar off lows but poised for second weekly loss; Yellen in focus > PRECIOUS-Gold dips after 7-day rally but set for second weekly gain > London copper set for 3rd weekly gain as mine supply drops > Oil prices fall more than $1 as supply threat eases (Reporting by Blaise Robinson)

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    * Nikkei heads for biggest daily drop in 11 weeks * Hedge funds take profits before Jan-March quarter ends - traders * All subsectors in negative territory By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 27 - Japan's Nikkei share average tumbled to a two-week low on Friday, led by futures selling as hedge funds took profits from recent gains.

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    Japan's Nikkei stock average gave up earlier gains and slid on Friday, hurt by profit-taking before the quarter's end. Futures-led selling by players such as hedge funds and commodity trading accounts weighed on the Nikkei, traders said. The Nikkei was down 1.6 percent after rising by as much as 0.6 percent earlier in the day.

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    As market volumes explode, even teenagers are buying. HONG KONG-- Some say that when the average "mom-and-pop" retail investors get back into the stock market, it could be time to get out. But what about when even teenagers start buying?

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    South Korea hopes its infrastructure companies will benefit from the country joining the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the finance ministry said on Friday. Shares in some iron and steel products makers rose sharply in early trading, partly on hopes for new orders when the AIIB is operational and funding infrastructure projects, which is likely next year.

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    South Korea hopes its infrastructure companies will benefit from the country joining the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the finance ministry said on Friday. Shares in some iron and steel products makers rose sharply in early trading, partly on hopes for new orders when the AIIB is operational and funding infrastructure projects, which is likely next year.

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    * Nikkei has been flat this week * Panasonic soars to the highest since Nov 2008 * Toshiba tumbles after SanDisk cut outlook By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 27 - Japan's Nikkei share average edged up on Friday morning in choppy trade as investors bought stocks on the dips after the previous day's falls, while Panasonic Corp attracted buying after it announced an acquisition plan.