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French growth seen firming as impact of protests wanes - INSEE

PARIS, March 19- French quarterly growth will firm in the first half the year as consumer spending benefits from improving household incomes and recovering business confidence after protests at the end of last year, the INSEE statistics agency said on Tuesday. Protests in December saw some of the worst street violence in Paris in decades with rioters...

Source: Reuters

70% of Americans with credit card debt admit they can't pay it off this year

Only about 30 percent of Americans with credit card debt believe they'll be able to pay it off this year, according to a new survey by the real estate site Clever. Here's why that's a problem.

Source: CNBC.com

UPDATE 2-Instagram adds new feature to let U.S. users shop direct via app

March 19- Facebook Inc's Instagram began trialing a feature on Tuesday that lets U.S. users shop directly for products from the photo sharing app by adding a' checkout' feature on items tagged for sale, the company said. Instagram said it has partnered with more than 20 brands, including Adidas, H&M and billionaire Kylie Jenner's booming cosmetic company and...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 2-Indian-Omani group strikes $3.85 bln deal to build Sri Lanka oil refinery

COLOMBO, March 19- India's Accord Group and Oman's Ministry of Oil and Gas have signed a $3.85 billion deal to build an oil refinery in Sri Lanka, the biggest single pledge of foreign direct investment ever made in the country. India has been concerned in the past few years about China muscling into Sri Lanka and other countries in the region where India is the...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 1-Vitol extends oil demand growth peak estimate to 2034

*Vitol expands retail network to Brazil. LONDON, March 19- Vitol reported higher traded volumes last year on Tuesday, cementing its position as the world's largest oil trader, and said it expected oil demand growth to peak by around 2034.. Vitol's chairman Ian Taylor said in late 2017 he saw oil demand growth peaking by 2028-2030..

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 8-Hackers hit aluminum maker Hydro, knock some plants offline

OSLO, March 19- Norsk Hydro, one of the world's largest producers of aluminum, battled on Tuesday to contain a cyber attack which hit parts of its production, sending its shares lower and aluminum prices higher. The company shut several metal extrusion plants, which transform aluminum ingots into components for car makers, builders and other industries, while its...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 1-Murdoch's new Fox debuts on Nasdaq, names ex-Speaker Paul Ryan to board

March 19- Fox Corp debuted on the Nasdaq on Tuesday, marking a new phase for billionaire Rupert Murdoch's media business after the $71 billion sale of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's film and television assets to Walt Disney Co.. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Formula One Group Chase Carey and two others to its board. Meanwhile, Disney's deal...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 1-Macquarie agrees $1.3 billion sale of Poland's Gdansk port terminal

WARSAW, March 19- A consortium of investors including Poland's sovereign wealth fund PFR has agreed to buy the country's largest container terminal in Gdansk from the infrastructure fund of Australia's Macquarie in a deal worth more than 5 billion zlotys, the companies said on Tuesday. The consortium buying the port includes global port group PSA...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 7-Aluminium producer Hydro hit by cyber attack, shuts some plants

The company shut several metal extrusion plants, which transform aluminium ingots into components for car makers, builders and other industries, while its giant smelters in countries including Norway, Qatar and Brazil were being operated manually. News of the attack pushed aluminium prices up 1.2 percent to a three-month high of $1,944 a tonne in early trade...

Source: Reuters

UPDATE 2-Britain's Mears hit by profit drop, debt rise as demand wanes

March 19- Mears shares slumped on Tuesday after the British housing and care services provider's pretax profit fell short of estimates and its net debt was higher than forecast. Shares in Mears, which fell more than 20 percent in 2018, were 8.6 percent lower at 265 pence at 1043 GMT. "It is frustrating because unlike other organisations we only do housing," Mears'...

Source: Reuters