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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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European Union weighs greater unity to save euro

BRUSSELS (AP) â¿¿ European leaders were wrestling Thursday over how much of their sovereignty they are willing to give up in a desperate attempt to save the ambitious project of continental unity that grew from the ashes of World War II.

At stake at the summit in Brussels is not only the future of the euro, but also the stability of the global financial system and the balance of power in Europe.

To convince financial markets that Europe's economy-crushing debt crisis is a one-time event, countries will have to give up significant powers, such as some decisions on borrowing and spending, to a central authority.

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ECB cuts rate, tempers hopes for bigger bond buys

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) â¿¿ European Central Bank President Mario Draghi disappointed financial markets Thursday by keeping them guessing about whether the bank is willing to take aggressive action to bail out heavily indebted euro countries.

But in a sign of rising concern about Europe's debt crisis, the ECB cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 1 percent and announced several steps to bolster the continent's economy and financial system.

The actions didn't impress markets. Stocks and the euro fell heavily, while borrowing costs for European governments rose.

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Lack of ECB bond-buying plan sends stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ The Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 200 points Thursday after the head of the European Central Bank said there was no plan for large-scale purchases of European government bonds, as many in the markets had hoped.

ECB President Mario Draghi's remarks sent borrowing costs soaring for Italy, Spain and other countries with heavy debt burdens. European stock indexes fell and the euro weakened against the dollar. Draghi made his comments after the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to 1 percent and took other modest steps to help shore up Europe's financial system.

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