A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2010 4:00 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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TOKYO _ Japan's factories made fewer goods in September as makers of cars and electronic devices cut production while consumer prices fell for the 19th month, underscoring that the economic recovery is losing steam.

The Nikkei 225 stock average closed down 1.8 percent. The yen circled just below a post-World War II record high of 79.75 yen set in 1995. A stronger yen hurts Japan's exporters.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's Kospi lost 1.3 percent, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.5 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.5 percent. Shares in India, Taiwan and Indonesia also declined while Singapore and Malaysia gained.

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PARIS _ French workers ended their strikes at all oil refineries and at strategic fuel terminals following weeks of protests over President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, unions and French officials said.

The decisions bring to a close a series of walkouts that left motorists without gas and threatened to cripple the fuel-needy industrial sector.

The protest movement has been losing steam since parliament this week approved the plan to reform France's pension plan in order to keep it solvent.

Sarkozy refused to back down despite strikes and protests that canceled trains, shut down refineries and fuel depots and blocked some schools.

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LONDON _ European shares traded in tight ranges. Britain's FTSE 100 index dipped less than 1 percent, France's CAC-40 was almost unchanged while Germany's DAX gained 0.1 percent.

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BRUSSELS _ European leaders' decision to create a permanent financial backstop for future eurozone crises _ but without spelling out who pays _ looks set to trigger a power struggle among governments in the months to come.

The deal that emerged from a two-day summit of EU leaders in Brussels is vague on how private creditors such as banks and hedge funds _ and not just taxpayers _ would share the cost of financial rescues such as the one that pulled Greece from the edge of bankruptcy in May.

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TOKYO _ Three of the world's biggest names in electronics _ Samsung, Sony and Panasonic _ are bracing for weaker global demand and a rocky road ahead, even as they reported stellar quarterly profits.

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LONDON _ Inflation and unemployment across the 16-country eurozone are on the rise, confirming that the region's economic recovery remains fragile and unbalanced.

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BERLIN _ German retail sales fell 2.3 percent during September, indicating that the country is still struggling to get domestic demand into higher gear.

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BEIJING _ Bank of China Ltd. confirmed it will raise up to 60 billion yuan ($8.9 billion) on stock markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai to replenish capital following last year's lending boom.

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NEW DELHI _ ICICI Bank, India's largest private lender, said quarterly profit rose 18.8 percent as it cut costs and reduced bad loans.

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HANOI, Vietnam _ Intel Corp. inaugurated its largest chip assembly and testing factory, part of a $1 billion investment in Vietnam that the company says will create several thousand skilled manufacturing jobs.

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TOKYO _ Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan's biggest brokerage, suffered a 96 percent plunge in quarterly profit as weak global stock markets hit trading revenue.

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SYDNEY _ Macquarie Group Ltd., Australia's largest investment bank, posted a 16 percent drop in first half profit, blaming higher employment costs and continued weakness in global investment markets.

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DUBLIN _ A two-year investigation into hidden loans and losses at Anglo Irish Bank represents the "biggest and most complex" criminal probe in Ireland's history, the justice minister said as he faced questioning over the failure to charge anyone so far.

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VIENNA _ Austrian bank Erste Group posted a 16 percent increase in third-quarter profit Friday amid lower risk provisions, even as bad loans in troubled Eastern Europe continue to weigh on the bank's performance.

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MADRID _ Spain's unemployment rate fell slightly to 19.8 percent in the third quarter, the first such decline in more than three years.