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

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BRUSSELS _ Europe's strict rules to stop countries from overspending are already being stretched as governments try to balance austerity measures against badly needed economic growth.

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LONDON _ Optimism about the U.S. economy after the release of solid retail sales figures shored up global markets.

The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.6 percent while Germany's DAX rose 0.9 percent. The CAC-40 in France was 1 percent higher too.

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TOKYO _ In Asia, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent.

The Nikkei 225 index in Japan closed less than 0.1 percent higher with trading little affected by the Bank of Japan's decision to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at zero to 0.1 percent.

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FRANKFURT, Germany _ Germany's top central banker has urged the European Central Bank to come up with a plan to eventually withdraw its massive emergency loans to banks, warning that they carry significant risks and have only bought Europe time to deal with the deeper causes of its debt crisis.

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BERLIN _ German investor confidence rose for the fourth month in a row to hit its highest level since mid-2010, a closely watched survey showed. It's another sign that Europe's biggest economy can avoid slipping into recession.

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BERLIN _ A German union says it expects public-service workers to step up a strike campaign as it wrangles with the government over its demand for a big pay increase.

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MILAN _ Italy easily raised $15.74 billion in a short-term bond auction that saw borrowing costs drop again.

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BRUSSELS _ The U.S., the European Union and Japan filed complaints with the World Trade Organization charging that China is limiting its exports of rare earths, minerals that are vital to the production of technology components.

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BUDAPEST, Hungary _ A leading international economic watchdog says a deal for financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union would help restore confidence in Hungary's economy.

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NICOSIA, Cyprus _ International credit ratings agency Moody's downgraded euro member Cyprus to junk status on concerns about its banking sector's exposure to Greece.

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TOKYO _ Japan's central bank is allowing companies in disaster-struck areas an extra year to pay back debts and is making more loans available to encourage growth.

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