DJIA: 17,689.86  -56.12 (-0.32%) | NASDAQ: 5,128.281  -0.503 (-0.01%) | S&P 500: 2,103.84  -4.79 (-0.23%) Markets status unavailable

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    Japanese government bond prices were mostly steady on Friday, pulling ahead slightly at the longer end. The 10-year JGB futures price ended 0.06 point higher at 147.55, up 0.4 percent for the month.

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    The hard line in Greek crisis reflects his vision of a centralized Europe. WASHINGTON-- A new European strongman is emerging from the Greek crisis and his name is Wolfgang Schaeuble. The German finance minister spearheaded the European Union's hard line against Greece in the bailout showdown this month and only the calming hand of Chancellor Angela Merkel kept him from ejecting Greece from the euro in July.

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    Japan's Nikkei share average edged up in choppy trade on Friday as investors took heart from strong Japanese quarterly corporate earnings, while they took comfort from less volatile Chinese share moves. The Nikkei share average gained 0.3 percent to 20,585.24 after traversing positive and negative territory.

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    * Asia stocks set for July loss after worst China drop in 6 years. * U.S. GDP data reinforces bets that Fed is on track to hike. * Nikkei down after Japanese data disappoints. * Gold, copper record losses on stronger dollar. By Nichola Saminather and Lisa Twaronite. Asian shares inched higher on Friday but were still set to post a loss for July, led by China's biggest monthly drop in six years.

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    The following are some of the main factors expected to affect Swiss stocks on Friday: CREDIT SUISSE. The Swiss bank made legal provisions of 124 million Swiss francs in the second quarter, according to its full quarterly report published on Friday. For more click on. COMPANY STATEMENTS.

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    By Shayndi Raice, Dana Mattioli and Betsy Morris. Deal would see merger between three European bottlers. Three bottlers of Coca-Cola Co. products in Europe are in advanced talks for a merger that would further a push by the U.S. soda giant to consolidate its bottlers around the world and lower costs.

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    Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up by 2 to 4 points, or 0.06 percent higher on Friday, according to financial bookmakers. * The UK blue chip index closed up 0.6 percent at 6,668.87 points on Thursday.

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    Financial spreadbetters predicted Britain's FTSE 100 to open 2 to 4 points higher, or up 0.06 percent, Germany's DAX to gain 2 to 3 points, or almost flat in percentage terms, and France's CAC 40 to rise around 4 points, or up 0.08 percent, on Friday.

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    * Markets watchdog probes automated trading. * Twenty-four trading accounts suspended. * Speculation of another official rate cut. * Chinese fund managers reduce appetite for stocks - poll. * CSRC seeking trading records from institutions-sources. By Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney.

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    * CSI300 -0.1 pct; SSEC -1 pct; HSI 0.4 pct. * Regulator investigates automated trading. * Market set for rebound -analyst. China stocks fell on Friday and looked set to suffer their biggest monthly loss in nearly six years even as Beijing rolled out a series of support measures and promised to step up efforts to bolster the flagging economy.

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    * Greenback seen supported after US GDP backs rate rise view. * Dollar index takes breather after setting 1-week high. * Some caution toward chasing dollar/yen higher-trader. * Dollar/yen backs off from 7-week high. By Masayuki Kitano and Hideyuki Sano.

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    * Investors warily eye China shares after previous session's drop. * U.S. GDP data reinforces bets that Fed is on track to hike. * Nikkei down after Japanese data disappoints. * Gold steadies following 1 percent plunge. By Lisa Twaronite.

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    Smaller companies in the U.K. are reluctant to take out loans not just because they are worried about carrying too much debt, but also because they fear banks will rip them off. That is the disturbing conclusion of Bank of England officials who survey financial conditions among businesses. It underlines that there are ongoing constraints on economic recovery from the bad behavior of banks up to and into the crisis.

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    Royal Dutch Shell (RDS/A) wants to overhaul its finances--and its image. The U.K. oil and gas major Thursday said it was cutting 6,500 jobs, reducing this year's operating costs by about 10%, and cutting capital expenditure plans for 2015 to $30 billion, from about $37 billion last year. This reflects ailing finances, with Brent crude again approaching $50 a barrel.

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    * TSX ends up 80.98 points, or 0.57 percent, to close at 14,382.78. * Eight of the TSX's 10 main groups rise. By Alastair Sharp. Canada's main stock index rose on Thursday, helped by a second day of gains for energy shares after plumbing new depths earlier in the week, and with shares in Open Text Corp (OTEX) surging after the software company's outlook impressed investors.

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    Canada's main stock index ended higher on Thursday, helped by a jump in shares of Open Text Corp (OTEX) after it upped its operating margin outlook, and a second day of gains for energy stocks that had recently slumped to six-year lows. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed up 80.98 points, or 0.57 percent, at 14,382.78. Eight of the 10 main groups on the index rose.