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Brewer Heineken says its business in Western Europe grew by 3.4 per cent, but earnings were lower.
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Stocks of interest on the Australian Securities Exchange at close on Thursday
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Ruralco to return to the black

Ruralco says it expects to post a half year net profit of between $4.5 million and $5 million in May.
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Energy stocks are continuing to rise on hopes opposition parties seeking to regulate the sector won't be calling the shots after the election.
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There was no surprise when the Reserve Bank of New Zealand hiked its official cash rate on Thursday but the NZ dollar rose anyway.
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Car production races ahead by 12%

New figures show car production is surging, driven by European demand.
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Hong Kong shares have closed 0.24 per cent higher following two days of losses.
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Whitehaven cuts coal guidance

Whitehaven Coal has reduced production guidance by up to 900,000 tonnes due to problems at its mines.
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Zynga's Mark Pincus is stepping down as chief product officer but will remain as chairman of the company he founded in 2007.
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Stocks to watch at noon on Thursday

Stocks of interest on the Australian Securities Exchange at noon on Thursday
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Moody's cuts Cuba rating

Ratings agency Moody's has cut Cuba's credit rating a notch citing its vulnerability to a shock increase in fuel costs and its rocky political transition.
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The new Heathrow Terminal 2 should be pleasant and desired destination thanks to its use of natural light, its lead architect Luis Vidal says.
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ERM Power downgrades profit forecast

Business-focused electricity provider ERM Power has secured $1 billion worth of contracts, but also downgraded its profit forecast.
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Tokyo stocks close down 0.97%

Tokyo stocks have closed down 0.97 per cent after an apparent failure by the US and Japanese leaders to clinch a trade deal.
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A solid report on the eurozone's PMI, which jumped to 54 points in March, has boosted the euro against the greenback.
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ResMed lifts 3rd quarter earnings

ResMed has defied flat sales growth from its core US business to lift its third quarter earnings by six per cent.
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Atlas Iron achieved record shipments of iron ore during the March quarter and is keen to expand despite falling prices.
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The receiver of Southern Cross Forest Products is closing a mill and winding down the Australian unit in a bid to sell the business as a going concern.
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Ramsay Health Care founder and billionaire Paul Ramsay is in a serious condition in a European hospital.
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Toll roads owner Transurban has agreed to buy Queensland Motorways, the owner of several Brisbane toll roads, for slightly more than $7 billion.
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FMA joins rural swap rate probe

NZ's Financial Market Authority is now also looking into interest rate swaps banks offered to rural customers, joining the Commerce Commission's probe.
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NZ Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler says inflation pressures are becoming apparent, which meant a second OCR rise in two months was needed.
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Gold prices have lifted 0.3 per cent, supported by escalating Russia-Ukrine tension and shifting expectations on US economic growth.

Stocks to watch on Thursday

Stocks of interest on the Australian Securities Exchange on Thursday

LME metals close mixed

Copper is flat and nickel holds onto its gains as the LME base metals close mixed, but aluminium lifts 0.8 per cent.
Delta Air Lines says its first quarter profit came in at $US213 million, which is up from $US7 million for the same time a year earlier.
Privately-held food company Chobani secures a $US750 million investment from TPG Capital to help fund the yoghurt maker's growth.
Facebook earnings have almost tripled with an 82 per cent boost in advertising revenue - beating forecasts for the fourth quarter in a row.

Apple increases stock buyback

Apple has announced plans to buy back an additional $US30 billion of its stock as part of a wider pledge to spend twice that on buybacks by 2016.

Kiwi steady ahead of OCR move

The NZ dollar was steady at US85.92 cents in Wellington ahead of a widely tipped OCR rise, with traders awaiting accompanying RBNZ comments.
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