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German Investor Sentiment Jumps again in December

Investment sentiment in Germany rose sharply in December after a rebound the previous month, driven by a weak euro and plunging oil prices, a survey found on Tuesday.

The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute jumped by 23.4 points in December, after rising for the first time this year in November, ZEW said in a statement.

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Bank of Cyprus Begins Trading with a Bump

Cyprus's largest lender returned to the Nicosia and Athens stock markets Tuesday after a 21-month absence following a banking crisis that brought the island's economy to its knees.

But early trades in Bank of Cyprus shares ensured a bumpy ride for the return of the country's top financial company.

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Brent Oil Sinks under $59 on Mounting Global Tensions

Oil suffered another dizzying plunge on Tuesday, with Brent crude sliding to a five-year low under $59 as markets were rocked by shrinking Chinese manufacturing output and turmoil in Russia.

At midday in London, benchmark contract Brent North Sea crude for January delivery slumped to $58.50 per barrel -- the lowest level since May 2009 -- and New York's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January hit a similar nadir at $53.80.

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Bank of England: UK's Top Four Lenders Pass Stress Tests

Britain's four biggest lenders have passed the Bank of England's stress tests, which are designed to show their ability to withstand a new economic crisis, the central bank said Tuesday.

Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), are strong enough to cope with a painful downturn that would see house prices plunge by 35 percent, inflation surge and unemployment soar, it said in a statement.

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Ruble Hits New Low Despite Interventions

The Russian ruble on Monday fell to new lows despite repeated interventions by the central bank to keep the national currency afloat.

The ruble crumbled to 58.81 to the dollar and 73.23 to the euro after the Moscow Exchange opened Monday morning.

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Oil Prices Rebound in Asia

Oil prices bounced back in Asia Monday on hopes of upbeat global manufacturing data to be released later this week, but remained near five-year lows after plunging more than 50 percent since June.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose 49 cents to $58.30 while Brent gained 68 cents to $62.53 in afternoon trade, reversing losses in both contracts in early trading.

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Central Banks, Oil Price Rout to Rule Markets in 2015

Addicted to liquidity and disconnected from the real economy, global markets are likely to dance in 2015 to the different monetary policy tunes played by the U.S. Fed, the ECB and China, while plunging oil prices could spice up the mix.

In 2015, "like the last seven years, it is the central bank interventions which will have an influence over the markets," said Romain Boscher, a stock portfolio manager at Amundi.

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Australian Budget Deficit Set to Blow out to US$33.2 Bln

Australia's budget deficit is forecast to balloon to Aus$40.4 billion (U.S.$33.2 billion) this financial year as the government struggles with a sharp slump in commodity prices, Treasurer Joe Hockey said Monday.

In the national budget released in May, the government forecast a Aus$29.8 billion deficit for 2014/15, but it revised the figure Monday, citing lower tax revenues and delays in passing legislation.

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Indonesian Rupiah Weakest since Asian Financial Crisis

The Indonesian rupiah Monday sank to its lowest level against the dollar since the Asian financial crisis 16 years ago, as emerging markets are hit hard by signs of recovery in the U.S.

The unit was down 1.8 percent in early afternoon trade, at 12,690 to the dollar, its lowest level since August 1998, around the time Southeast Asia's biggest economy was devastated by serious financial turmoil.

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Fitch Downgrades France's Credit Rating

Ratings agency Fitch cut France's credit grade by one notch to "AA" on Friday, saying Paris's efforts to trim its fiscal deficit have fallen short to avoid a downgrade.

"The weak outlook for the French economy impairs the prospects for fiscal consolidation and stabilizing the public debt ratio," Fitch said.

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