A Look At Economic Developments Around The Globe

The Associated Press

A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Friday:

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CAIRO â¿¿ The announcement that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned offered new hope for a rebound in waning investor confidence in the country, with the cost of insuring Egypt's sovereign debt retreating sharply. But analysts and economists cautioned that other question remained, such as the pace of reform and what role the military would play.

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LONDON â¿¿ Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's decision to hand power to the military boosted stocks around the world as hopes grew for a peaceful transition of power.

In Europe, Germany's DAX traded up 0.4 percent, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares gained 0.7 percent and the CAC-40 in Paris was 0.2 percent higher.

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BERLIN â¿¿ The head of Germany's Bundesbank, who was long a favorite to become the European Central Bank's next president, is stepping down a year early for personal reasons, the government said.

The government announced Axel Weber's decision to quit on April 30 after the Bundesbank president met behind closed doors with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, following days of confusion over his future.

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TOKYO â¿¿ Earlier in Asia, shares were mixed. South Korea's Kospi slid 1.6 percent after the country's central bank suggested it will raise rates in coming months. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 let go of the previous day's gains, dropping 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent and China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent.

Japan's markets were closed for a public holiday.

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BRUSSELS â¿¿ The respite financial markets gave European finance ministers over recent weeks appears to have ended as they chart their next moves to tackle the debt crisis that has rocked the region over the past year.

Finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro are meeting in Brussels Monday afternoon, before being joined by their 10 non-euro EU counterparts for more discussions Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

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BEIJING â¿¿ A Chinese man cited by a U.S. security firm as being linked to cyberspying on Western oil companies said his company rents server space to hundreds of hackers.

The disclosure highlighted the pervasiveness of both professional and amateur hacking in China, a leading source of Internet crime. But it also left open the possibility that the hackers cited in a report by McAfee Inc. might be non-Chinese who concealed their identities by routing thefts through computers in China.

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LONDON â¿¿ Ratings agency Moody's downgraded the creditworthiness of six Irish banks as politicians nearing a national election argued about when, or whether, the banks will get a further capital injection.

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MADRID â¿¿ The Spanish government approved a series of measures it hopes will help ease the country's chronic unemployment problem and reduce market tensions over its economic and financial future.

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SEOUL, South Korea â¿¿ South Korea's central bank left its key interest rate on hold even as it stressed that inflation pressure, which sparked earlier rate hikes, shows no sign of waning. Stocks dropped as foreign investors led selling.

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ATHENS, Greece â¿¿ Greece's ambitious program to overcome its debt crisis has reached a "critical juncture" and faster structural reforms are needed, its international bailout inspectors said.

Officials from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission said the country's reforms were broadly on track despite delays in some sectors, and they would recommend that Greece receives the next installment of its bailout loans.

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LISBON, Portugal â¿¿ Portugal's foreign minister says a small, radical party's decision to present a motion of no confidence in the government will weaken the debt-stressed country as it fights to avoid a bailout.

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HANOI, Vietnam â¿¿ Vietnam devalued its currency by 8.5 percent. The Communist-ruled country is grappling with double-digit inflation and a widening trade deficit.

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KARACHI, Pakistan â¿¿ Employees of Pakistan's state airline ended a four-day strike that had crippled air travel in the country after the company's director resigned and a route-sharing deal with another airline was scrapped.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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