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Societe Generale Rebounds after Trade Briefly Suspended

Trading in French bank Societe Generale, after being briefly suspended at the market opening Thursday, rebounded with the share price rising 8.9 percent to 24.16 euros.

On Wednesday, Societe Generale shares fell 14.74 percent on rumors, later denied as unfounded, that the bank faced problems because of its exposure to Greek debt.

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Gold Breaches $1,800 an Ounce

Gold prices surged past $1,800 an ounce on Thursday as investors bought up the safe haven as markets around the world slump due to ongoing fears about the global economy.

In early trade the price of the precious metal soared to a record $1,814.50-$1,815.50 an ounce.

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Swiss Central Bank Tries to Bring Down Franc Again

The Swiss central bank on Wednesday took fresh measures to halt the rise of the Swiss franc, which is threatening exports and growth, by increasing liquidity after the currency strengthened to new highs.

"In the light of these developments, the Swiss National Bank is taking additional measures against the strength of the Swiss franc. It will again significantly increase the supply of liquidity to the Swiss franc money market," the central bank said.

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Asian Stocks Bounce Back on Fed Announcement

Asian stocks rallied on Wednesday, part of a global uptick after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates near zero for at least two years.

Tokyo rose 1.05 percent, or 94.26 percent, to 9,038.74, Sydney added 2.64 percent, or 106.5 points, to 4,141.3 and Seoul gained 0.27 percent, or 4.89 points, to 1,806.24.

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N. Africa, Mideast Turmoil Sinks OMV Profit

Austrian oil and gas giant OMV reported Wednesday a drop in profit in its second quarter results due to the political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.

Bottom-line net profit sank 26 percent to 269 million euros ($386 million) in April-June from 365 million in the previous quarter, OMV said in a statement.

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Sarkozy Breaks off Holiday for Emergency Debt Crisis Meeting

President Nicolas Sarkozy interrupted his vacation on the French Riviera Wednesday to hold an emergency government meeting on the debt crisis rattling global markets.

Sarkozy, who was at the seaside home of his pregnant pop star wife Carla Bruni, and other European leaders had come under fire for staying on their summer holidays as turmoil engulfed the financial markets.

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Oil Prices Slump on Demand Fears

World oil prices hit multi-month lows on Tuesday as traders eyed the prospect of slowing energy demand in China and the United States, and as the OPEC cartel slashed its forecasts for oil consumption.

The energy market also suffered heavy falls, in line with tumbling global equities, as investors fretted over a possible new worldwide economic downturn and eagerly awaited an interest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

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HSBC in Talks to Sell U.S. Business

Global banking giant HSBC said Tuesday it was in talks regarding the possible sale of its U.S. card and retail services business.

"HSBC confirms that it is in discussions regarding a possible sale of the business. These discussions are ongoing and no decision has yet been made to proceed with any transaction," the London-based company said in a statement.

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Asian Stock Markets Stabilizing after Dramatic Plunges

Asian stocks markets are stabilizing after a day of dramatic plunges Tuesday as futures point to a measure of calm returning to Wall Street following the Dow's sixth worst decline in the last 112 years.

To be sure, investors remained on edge amid fears of a possible global recession. But by midafternoon, major Asian indexes had pulled back from a dizzying tailspin earlier in the day.

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Foreign Automakers Eye Brazil's Promising Market

Brazil's auto market -- the fourth-largest in the world -- is a top prospect for foreign carmakers seeking new buyers, with strong growth expected in the coming years, industry experts say.

Last week, China's JAC Motors (Jianghuai Automobile Co.) announced it would invest $900 million to build a factory in Brazil, while German luxury carmaker BMW said there was a "high probability" it would also set up an assembly plant.

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