A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Monday:
PARIS _ The day after Francois Hollande rode to power in France on a slogan of "change now," the conversation in Europe is already different: Austerity has become a dirty word.
PARIS _ On his whirlwind first day since winning the French presidential election, Socialist Francois Hollande was set to embark on a crash course in international politics, with a critical visit to Berlin, an invite to the White House, and two top summits already on the agenda.
The leftist who has pledged to buck Europe's austerity trend and NATO's timetable for Afghanistan has virtually no foreign policy experience, and he will have very little time to catch up before he officially becomes France's new president on May 15 _ and must defend his policies to skeptical foreign leaders who worked with defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
ATHENS, Greece _ Greece sank deeper into a political and financial morass as initial efforts to form a new coalition government failed a day after angry voters punished parties backing the country's international bailout.
The result of Sunday's parliamentary election raised troubling new questions about Greece's ability to stay solvent and in the euro currency bloc. And the political impasse means Greece could face another round of elections next month.
LONDON _ Most stock markets in Europe ground out gains in volatile trading after election results in Greece and France highlighted the scale of anti-austerity sentiment across the continent. Despite the uncertainty over Greece, markets in the rest of Europe staged a late rally.
The CAC-40 in France closed 1.7 percent higher. Germany's DAX eked out a 0.1 percent advance, having spent most of the day in the red. The FTSE 100 of leading British shares was closed for a public holiday.
Athens' stock market closed 6.7 percent lower.
TOKYO _ In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index plunged 2.8 percent, its lowest finish in three months. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 2.6 percent. In other Asia markets, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 2.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi shed 1.6 percent.
MADRID _ Spain's prime minister said the government will likely present important bank clean-up measures this week to clear up doubts about the solvency of the sector, a key source of worry over whether Spain might need a financial bailout.
JAKARTA, Indonesia _ Indonesia's economy grew 6.3 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter as industries such as agriculture and forestry expanded.
HARARE, Zimbabwe _ Zimbabwe's northern neighbor Zambia says it has struck a deal to sell 300,000 tons of corn to ease food shortages in Zimbabwe.
BLANTYRE, Malawi _ Malawi's central banker says the official rate of the southern African country's currency has been cut by a third as the government seeks to repair ties with the International Monetary Fund.
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