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World Stocks Tentative Amid Fed Stimulus Cut Fears

World stock markets were tentative Friday as investors prepared for the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision next week on whether to reduce its monetary stimulus.

Asia's heavyweight market benchmark, Tokyo's Nikkei 225, rose 0.4 percent to 15,403.11 and Hong Kong, Taiwan and Sydney also rose. Shanghai and Seoul declined.

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U.S. Moves ahead on Plan to Allow Phone Use in Planes

U.S. regulators Thursday opened the door to allowing mobile phone use on airplanes -- an issue that has stirred howls of protest over the potential for disruption in the skies.

The Federal Communication Commission's 3-2 vote came after chairman Tom Wheeler said the action would merely publish rules for public comment, and determine the technical feasibility of in-flight phone use.

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Hollande Vows to Share French Technology with Brazil

French President Francois Hollande, on a state visit to Brazil, on touted his country's readiness Thursday to share its technological know-how with the emerging South American powerhouse.

After holding talks in Brasilia with counterpart Dilma Rousseff, the French leader arrived in the economic capital of Sao Paulo to meet the local French community.

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Putin Targets Offshores to Help Slumping Economy

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday proposed forcing offshore companies owned by Russians to pay taxes into the national budget as the Kremlin faces up to the potential consequences of the country's economic slump.

In his annual state of the nation address, Putin departed from the usual rhetoric of blaming outside cyclical factors for Russia's slowdown which the government predicts will result in growth of just 1.4 percent this year.

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Denmark Raises Growth Forecast, Sees Signs of Recovery

The Danish government doubled its growth forecast for this year to 0.4 percent from 0.2 percent on Thursday, saying the economy was showing signs of recovery.

"The Danish economy is showing signs of recovery. It's not happening quickly, but it's moving forward," the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement.

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Hit Like Ton of BRICS: 2013 Tough Year for Emerging Markets

Only recently hailed as the saviors of the world economy, emerging markets had a tough year in 2013, hit by slow growth, market instability and social unrest that have worried investors -- though some analysts say the fear is overblown.

In November, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the rich world's number-crunching club, lowered its global growth forecast for 2014 by nearly half a point, to 2.7 percent, because of the slowdown in emerging-market economies (EMEs).

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Cheap Money Party Over, Analysts Warn as Fears Rise of Asset Bubbles

Cash is so cheap these days that investors have been borrowing and ploughing them in assets from artwork to wine to bitcoins, betting that prices would rise.

And rise they did, some even setting records, but market watchers are now warning that asset bubbles may be forming and could well burst in 2014.

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Slovenia to Receive Banking Bailout Bill

Slovenia is to learn later this week if it has enough money to shore up its banks on its own or become the latest eurozone country to need outside help.

The government and central bank will publish later this week -- the day is still unclear -- the results of EU-supervised stress tests of its banks which have become weighed down by assets that have lost value as the economy has been gripped by a long recession.

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German Inflation Edges Higher in November

The rate of inflation in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, inched higher this month after hitting a three-year low the previous month, final official data showed on Wednesday.

The cost of living rose by 1.3 percent this month on an annual basis, compared with 1.2 percent in September, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement.

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Oil Prices Edge Lower ahead of U.S. Stockpiles Data

Oil prices edged lower in Asian trade with few leads to spur fresh market movement, but retained support from signs of resurgent demand in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery, was down six cents at $98.45 in afternoon Asian trade while Brent North Sea crude for January eased one cent to $109.37.

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