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Despite Market Fears Regional Investors See Opportunities Beyond the Turmoil

Viewed from the ongoing pace of televised news, the tumult on Egypt's streets seems ready to engulf the entire Middle East. Indeed, only days after thousands of protestors filled downtown Cairo's main thoroughfare to demand an end to Hosni Mubarak's rule, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced he would be stepping down at the end of his term, and his son would not run for office, while Jordan's King Abdullah II fired his cabinet, appointed a new Prime Minister, and vowed political reform. Rumblings of protest also echoed in Algeria, Oman and Morocco.

Undoubtedly, the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have brought extraordinary change to Arab politics, challenging regimes to alter the way they govern, and providing new political freedoms for the people. But while many foreign investors have deemed the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region's new political uncertainty as a risk -- Moody's downgraded Egypt's credit ratings to Ba2 with a negative outlook, and other credit ratings agencies followed suit -- regional businesses and investors have taken a different approach. They believe that political changes that usher in more democratic governments in the region will pave the way for long-term stability and growth.

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Nissan Quarterly Profit Jumps 78 Percent

Nissan reported a 78 percent jump in quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecasts Wednesday as vehicle sales grew in North America, Europe and Asia, offsetting a weak performance in Japan.

Nissan's October-December net profit totaled 80.07 billion Yen ($976.4 million), up from 44.97 billion Yen a year earlier. Sales for its fiscal third quarter rose 5.3 percent to 2.103 trillion Yen ($25.6 billion).

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Swiss Chocolate Sales Firm up With Sweeter Economy

Swiss chocolate makers sold more than 176,400 tons of chocolate last year as consumer appetites picked up with the economic recovery, the top industry body said on Tuesday.

Overall sales rose 1.3 percent in volume and 2.4 percent in value to 1.7 billion Swiss francs (649 million Euros), said Chocosuisse.

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Dollar Holds Firm Against Euro

The dollar held firm against the Euro in Asia on Tuesday in the absence of fresh trading pegs after inching up in New York on weaker-than-expected German data.

The Euro bought $1.3577 dollars in Tokyo morning trade, a shade lower than $1.3581 in New York late Monday. Against the Japanese unit, the common currency was flat at 111.78.

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Oil Price Climbs Back Above $100

Crude oil prices rose back above $100 on Monday on lingering concerns over the impact of political uncertainty in Egypt.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March gained 75 cents to $100.58 per barrel in late morning London trade.

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VW to Create 40,000 Jobs by 2018

Germany's Volkswagen, Europe's biggest automaker, plans to boost its workforce from 250,000 to 290,000 by 2018, with most of the new jobs to be created in China, the German auto weekly Woche reported Sunday.

Citing internal and confidential documents, the weekly said that "the number of VW employees will rise from 250,000 to 290,000 by 2018," including 35,000 new posts in China.

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AOL to Buy Huffington Post for $315 Million

U.S. Internet provider AOL will buy The Huffington Post, a rapidly growing news website with nearly 25 million monthly visitors, for $315 million, the company announced Monday.

Approximately $300 million will be paid in cash, it said.

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Wall Street Stocks Rise again Despite Egypt Crisis

Wall Street probably will keep a close eye next week on developments in the Egypt crisis, though it did not prevent stocks from hitting their highest levels in more than two years.

Facing a thin economic calendar, investors were expected to remain glued to the massive anti-government protests seeking the immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

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Oil Above $102 in Asian Trade

World oil prices remained high in Asian trade Friday, with the market under pressure from the ongoing political crisis in Egypt.

New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for March, was up 40 cents at $90.94 in afternoon trade.

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Oil Price Shoots Above $103 on Egypt Crisis

Brent crude rallied to a 28-month high above $103 on Thursday as the political crisis in Egypt erupted into violence, sparking fresh concern over energy supplies in the crude-rich Middle East.

"The continued unrest in Egypt has prompted Brent oil prices to climb overnight to $103 a barrel, the highest level since September 2008," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

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