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

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BRUSSELS _ The European Commission and France want a deal in which private creditors take losses on Greek bonds to remain voluntary to avoid triggering big payouts on bond insurance, officials said. That clashes with several other countries' push for steeper writedowns.

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BEIJING _ China's export growth fell in September in a sign of the West's malaise and a setback for hopes Chinese demand will help prop up a shaky global economy.

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LONDON _ Stocks fell as investors awaited more details on exactly how European officials plan to tackle their debt crisis and Chinese trade figures stoked concerns over the outlook for the world economy.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 closed down 0.7 percent, while Germany's DAX fell 1.3 percent. France's CAC 40 ended 1.3 percent lower.

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TOKYO _ Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 2.3 percent and South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.8 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.8 percent.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Public transport ground to a halt in Athens as workers began a 48-hour strike against austerity measures, while protesters tried to prevent the collection of a new property tax by occupying the power company's billing offices.

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MILAN _ Italy paid less in an auction of five-year bonds than it did just a month ago, as the debt-laden country managed to raise $8.5 billion from a batch of medium- and long-term issues.

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MADRID _ Spain is delaying plans to privatize the running of Madrid and Barcelona airports, saying bidders have requested more time to raise financing.

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MILAN _ The Eni oil company has started transferring natural gas through the Greenstream pipeline connecting Libya and Italy for the first time in eight months.

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LONDON _ Fitch has become the second major credit rating agency in less than a week to downgrade its view on Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and Lloyds Banking Group because it believes the government is less likely to come to the rescue of a financial institution.

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SEOUL, South Korea _ South Korea's central bank left its benchmark interest rate at 3.25 percent for a fourth month amid signs inflation is slowing.

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HONG KONG _ The International Monetary Fund trimmed its economic growth forecasts for Asia because of financial turbulence in Europe and a possible slowdown in the U.S.

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BANGKOK _ Severe flooding has forced a halt to Honda and Toyota assembly lines in Thailand that account for about 7 percent of their combined global car production. American automakers Ford and General Motors are faring better.

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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia _ The Slovak parliament has endorsed early elections in March, a key condition for approval of expanding the powers of an EU bailout fund.

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TOWNHALL MEDIA GROUP