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European Shares Recover on Big Wall Street Gains

Bank stocks recovered their poise Friday and helped European stock markets push higher as investors assessed the impact of a short-selling ban on financial shares in four eurozone countries.

The advance in Europe follows big gains on Wall Street Thursday, which helped support most markets in Asia.

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Kuwait Posts Healthy Budget Surplus on Record Income

OPEC member Kuwait posted a healthy budget surplus of 5.3 billion dinars ($19.5 billion) in the last fiscal year on record revenues thanks to high oil prices, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

Revenues in the year ended March 31 hit 21.5 billion dinars ($79 billion), the highest ever in the emirate's history, according to figures on the ministry's website.

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France Says Merkel to Meet Sarkozy over Debt Crisis

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday called a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel amid market turmoil to find solutions to the Eurozone debt crisis.

Merkel will travel next Tuesday to Paris for the meeting which is aimed at producing "joint proposals" on the governance of the Eurozone before the end of the summer, Sarkozy's office said in a statement.

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Scarred London Opens for Business After Riots

After a relatively quiet night on London's streets, life started to return to normal Thursday following four nights of rioting that have left homes and shops in ruins and four people dead.

The owners of shops and cafes in districts of the British capital where rioters looted and set fire to shops put on a brave face and opened for business.

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Gulf Markets Down after U.S. Shares Plunge

Gulf stocks dipped in early trade on Thursday after U.S. markets plunged the previous day amid European debt troubles and as worries of a new U.S. recession kept investors nervous.

The Dubai Financial Market index dropped more than one percent shortly after opening, but reduced losses slightly by 11:25 am (0725 GMT) to 0.97 percent at 1,446.81 points.

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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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