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Thursday Express: BB&T, SunTrust post lower Q3 EPS; Kentucky banks to merge

* Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T reported third-quarter EPS of 95 cents, down from $1.01 in the year-ago quarter.

* SunTrust Banks' third-quarter EPS was $1.34, a decrease from the prior-year period's $1.56.

* M&T Bank and KeyCorp also reported earnings early this morning. Morgan Stanley is also expected to report quarterly results today.

* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission obtained an asset freeze against 18 traders, mostly based in China, related to a market manipulation scheme that helped them amass over $31 million in illegal profits.

* In Kentucky, Citizens Union Bank of Shelbyville, with $840 million in assets, is merging with Peoples Bank & Trust, with $55 million in assets.

* Ahead of possible judgment against the company over its $175 million shuttered hedge fund, Highland Capital Management filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

* Pointing out the potential speed at which Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency Libra could circulate globally given its vast network of users, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard asked that the project specifically define its financial activities so jurisdictions can assess whether existing regulatory and enforcement mechanisms can provide adequate oversight and consumer protection.

* Moody's declined to comment on a media report that it may have to drop a plan to seek control of China's biggest ratings firm, China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co., for failing to get regulatory approval to up its stake in the Chinese firm to over 50% from 30%.

* On the insurance front, Founder Steve Menzies acquired Applied Underwriters and subsidiary North American Casualty in a transaction valued at $920 million.

* Axis Capital Holdings is joining a number of its peers in reducing exposure to fossil fuels by implementing a new thermal coal and oil sands underwriting and investment policy.

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