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Fiat Gets Another Five Percent of Chrysler

Fiat has added five percent to its majority ownership of Chrysler.

The Italian automaker got the added stake by making a car in the U.S. that gets 40 miles per gallon of gas.

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Germany Denies 'Defeat' over ECB Job

Germany said on Wednesday the surprise naming of a Belgian economist to replace the German incumbent of a highly coveted European Central Bank position was "in no way a defeat".

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Georg Streiter told a regular news conference that Germany had "no hereditary claim" to certain posts within the Frankfurt-based central bank.

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Investors Begin 2012 Cautiously as Euro Crisis Persists

Banks parked record sums at the European Central Bank while Germany held an uninspiring bond sale, suggesting investors are remaining cautious as new data suggested Wednesday the Eurozone crisis would likely linger well into 2012.

Banks placed 453 billion euros ($591 billion) on deposit at the ECB for 24 hours Tuesday, breaking a previous record set last week, the central bank said.

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Oil Prices Rally to November Peaks on Iran Tensions

World oil prices hit their highest levels since November on Wednesday, before pulling lower, as traders fretted over heightened tensions between key crude producer Iran and the United States, analysts said.

The market also won solid support from a stream of positive economic data which boosted the outlook for the global economy and energy demand.

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Merkel, Monti to meet for Eurozone Talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks on the Eurozone crisis here next week with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

Merkel will receive Monti, who took office in November, with military honors at the chancellor's office on January 11, Georg Streiter told a regular news conference.

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Kuwait Protests to Iran Over Disputed Gas Field

Kuwait lodged an official protest with Iran on Tuesday over statements that Tehran plans to unilaterally develop a disputed gas field, the official KUNA news agency said.

Foreign ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah summoned Iranian Charge d'Affaires Sayed Tahabi and handed him a protest letter over the statements made a few days ago by a top Iranian oil executive, KUNA said.

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Iran Currency Recovers from Sharp Drop

Iran's currency, the rial, rebounded strongly on Tuesday, recovering completely from a dramatic 12-percent drop the day before, according to money changers and media.

The rial was trading at 15,900 to the U.S. dollar in the afternoon after it reached 17,000 against the greenback on Monday -- a record low for the Iranian currency.

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Workers in Last-Ditch Bid to Save SeaFrance Ferries

A French court was to rule Tuesday on a worker cooperative's bid to rescue the ailing cross-Channel ferry business SeaFrance after President Nicolas Sarkozy made a surprise U-turn to back the takeover.

With unemployment threatening to rise above 10 percent of the workforce four months ahead of a presidential election, the unpopular Sarkozy has made preserving jobs a priority of his as-yet unannounced bid for another mandate.

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Total Takes $2.3 Billion Stake in U.S. Shale Gas Fields

French oil group Total said Tuesday it was taking a 25 percent stake in shale gas fields in the U.S. state of Ohio for a total investment of $2.3 billion (1.8 billion euros).

Total said its U.S. subsidiary was entering into a joint venture with a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy Corporation and its partner EnerVest that hold rights to 619,000 acres (250,500 hectare).

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Asian Markets Rise on Eurozone Factory Data

World stock markets rose Tuesday, as market confidence grew after the release of manufacturing data that showed improvement in Europe.

Benchmark oil rose above $100 per barrel while the dollar fell against the euro and the yen.

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