DJIA: 17,690.46  -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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    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.

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    A recent pickup in energy and materials stocks indicates investors are ready for some bottom-fishing, after concerns about China's stumbling economy and stock market accelerated a slide in those sectors. After hitting its lowest level since October earlier this week, the S&P 500 materials sector has risen three consecutive sessions for a gain of more than 3 percent.

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    SAO PAULO, July 30 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies and stocks fell on Thursday after U.S. GDP data supported the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year, potentially reducing liquidity in markets seen as increasingly vulnerable to an economic slowdown in China. Brazil's stock market was further pressured by a slump in banking shares following signs that the country's central bank had concluded its cycle of monetary tightening. The region's top three currencies in terms of volume - Brazil's real, Mexico's peso and Chile's peso - all weakened more than 1 percent after data showed U.S. growth accelerated in the second quarter, suggesting a steady momentum that could bring the Fed closer to hiking interest rates this year. Concerns that a recent selloff in China's stock market may accelerate the slowdown of the world's No. 2 economy have also been weighing on Latin American currencies. Most countries in the region greatly rely on exports to China. Leading losses in the region, Brazil's real dropped 1.3 percent, also pressured by fears that the country may lose its investment-grade credit rating. Traders wondered about the central bank's currency intervention strategy for August after the real traded at 12-year lows this week. If the bank maintains or slows the rollover pace of currency swaps - derivatives designed to prop up the real - investors will assume that policymakers are OK with the currency's recent depreciation. So far in July, the central bank has rolled over nearly 60 percent of the $10.7 billion in swaps that expire early next month. The real has lost nearly 8 percent in the same period. In equity markets, Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index dropped 0.85 percent as shares of banks Bradesco and Itau Unibanco slid 2.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Shares of Bradesco dropped even after Brazil's second-largest private-sector bank topped profit estimates for the second quarter. Analysts said investors were instead focused on an expected end to Brazil's monetary tightening campaign, which has allowed banks to increase borrowing costs. Shares of Brazil's Kroton, the world's largest private education firm, fell 4.7 percent after Reuters reported the Brazilian government will further cut the amount it spends on education by up to 2 billion reais ($593.4 million) this year. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1630 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 892.37 -0.86 -5.88 MSCI LatAm 2,253.85 -1.91 -15.77 Brazil Bovespa 49,731.43 -1.02 -0.55 Mexico IPC 44,334.36 -0.31 2.76 Chile IPSA 3,785.39 -0.51 -1.70 Chile IGPA 18,473.66 0.57 -2.10 Argentina MerVal 11,141.079 -1.52 29.86 Colombia IGBC 10,007.22 -0.83 -13.99 Venezuela IBC 15,391.63 -0.53 298.88 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change Brazil real 3.3732 -1.34 -21.22 Mexico peso 16.476 -1.13 -10.51 Chile peso 673.7 -1.18 -9.99 Colombia peso 2,868 -0.71 -16.74 Peru sol 3.1921 -0.25 -6.68 Argentina peso (interbank) 9.1825 0.00 -6.89 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.86 0.54 -5.79 (Reporting by Walter Brandimarte and Bruno Federowski)

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.6 percent. * Siemens, Nokia underpin euro zone recovery story. * But China and emerging markets weigh on stocks. * German data show surprising rise in unemployment. * Peripheral euro zone preferred to core - Julius Baer. By Lionel Laurent.

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    By Carla Mozee and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch. Stocks across Europe rose Thursday, helped by encouraging quarterly reports from companies like Nokia and Rolls-Royce. Equities got a lift from "upbeat earnings," but that was offset somewhat by factors such as another drop by Chinese stocks and a slight rise in German unemployment, said Jasper Lawler, an analyst at CMC Markets, in a note.

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    * TSX up 68.36 points, or 0.48 percent, to 14,370.16. * Seven of the TSX's 10 main groups were up. By Solarina Ho. Canada's main stock index was higher in extremely choppy trading on Thursday as a solid rebound in energy stocks due to bargain hunting and oil prices bouncing off recent lows offset disappointing earnings.

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    Investors allocating funds across global stock markets can earn an average return of up to 12 percent a year despite currency swings, a study showed on Thursday. The study -- by the Cass Business School, the Bank of England and City University Hong Kong -- used data from more than 40 stock markets, observed over 30 years.