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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.

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    RIO DE JANEIRO, April 17- The Brazilian real weakened more than half a percentage point on Thursday as investors turned cautious ahead of a long holiday weekend, while the Chilean peso edged lower ahead of a key central bank decision on interest rates. The FX market will be closed for four days, so a few players are building positions for protection, "said Jaime...

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    LONDON-- Barclays PLC (BCS) helped push U.K. stocks higher on Thursday after the bank said it will outline a growth strategy, aiding the main London index to finish at its highest close in a week. The benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.5% to 6,625.25, and finished up 1% for the week shortened by the Good Friday holiday. Read: The best stocks to play thriving U.K. economy.

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    *TSX up 5.82 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,452.34* Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance* Gold-mining shares slip along with bullion price By John Tilak TORONTO, April 17- Canada's main stock index was little changed on Thursday with investors reluctant to take new positions ahead of the long Easter weekend, and with the market settling down after a volatile...

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    *Canadian dollar at C $1.0998 or 90.93 U.S. cents* Bond prices mostly lower across the maturity curve By Leah Schnurr 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. A little bit stronger than expected could put a little...

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    TORONTO, April 17- Canada's main stock index was little changed on Thursday after declines in the prices of some commodities offset market-supportive comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 11.69 points, or 0.08 percent, at 14,434.83 shortly after the open.

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    Canadian stock index futures were little changed after data showed Canada's annual inflation rate rose more than expected in March as traders get set for a long weekend. The market is closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday. June futures on the S&P TSX index were up 0.05 percent at 0900 ET after being down marginally before the data.

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    The Canadian dollar firmed against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, rising to a session high after data showed the annual inflation rate came in stronger than expected in March. The Canadian dollar was at C$1.0997 to the greenback, or 90.93 U.S. cents, stronger than Wednesday's close of C$1.1018, or 90.76 U.S. cents.

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    * Traders eye FTSE 100 underperforming Europe. * Buy FTSE puts, Euro STOXX 50 calls, traders say. * Sterling hitting highs against euro. * Euro could weaken further on fresh ECB stimulus. By Sudip Kar-Gupta. Market bets are growing that Britain's main stock index, laden with heavyweight exporters, will stall as divergent central bank policies strengthen the pound against the euro.

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    Canadian stock index futures indicated a lower open on Thursday ahead of inflation data and as disappointing earnings from Google and IBM dampened the previous session's upbeat tone. June futures on the S&P TSX index were down 0.07 percent at 0715 ET. Canadian inflation data is due at 0830 ET.

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    * Sterling strong near 4-1/2-year high vs dollar. * Trading winds down ahead of Easter holidays. * Yellen stresses need for interest rates to stay low. By Anirban Nag. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated an accommodative monetary policy stance in comments.

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    European stock indices headed lower on the final day of trading before the Easter break as violence in Ukraine conspired with a string of lackluster corporate bulletins to fuel nervousness. The Ukraine government said it killed three pro-Russian fighters in the east of the country in a raid.

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    Asian stocks were mostly higher on Thursday, with Japan moderating after its strong gains in the previous session, while Australia was reassured by comments from the chairwoman of the U.S. The region took a positive lead from the U.S., where Wall Street moved higher, with the technology-heavy Nasdaq recovering from a selloff that saw Internet and biotechnology companies hit hard in recent sessions. Supporting regional sentiment was Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who...

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    LONDON-- European stocks pulled lower Thursday, with investors assessing a crop of quarterly corporate updates and monitoring diplomatic talks in Geneva about the crisis in Ukraine. The Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.2% to 330.18, led by a 5.6% drop in Remy Cointreau SA after the spirits maker warned of a decline in full-year operating profit. Shares of Diageo PLC fell 4.4% after the liquor company.

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    * Sterling strong near 4-1/2 year high vs dollar. * Trading activity winding down ahead of Easter holidays. * Yellen stresses need for interest rates to stay low. By Anirban Nag. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Thursday after Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen reiterated an accommodative monetary policy stance in comments which gave the euro and the yen a lift.

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.3 pct. * Remy Cointreau, Diageo report weak China demand. * Euro strength knocks back SAP outlook. * Major European markets shut on Friday, Monday. By Alistair Smout.

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    European shares were steady in early trade on Thursday, halting the previous session's rebound as lower-than-expected U.S. results and a warning by SAP over the negative impact of a strong euro eclipsed dovish comments from the Fed. Investors were also reluctant to chase stocks higher ahead of the Easter holiday weekend, and as tensions in Ukraine continued to rise.