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Stocks Recover as Economic News Beats Hopes

World stocks started the week solidly amid hopes that the recent sharp volatility in the markets may have run its course following a run of stronger than anticipated economic data.

Though concerns remain over the state of the global economy and Europe's debt crisis, many investors think the recent sell-off has been overdone and are snapping up potential bargains.

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Soros Suggests Greece, Portugal Quit Euro-Zone

George Soros, the U.S. speculator turned billionaire philanthropist, has suggested both Greece and Portugal quit the European Union and the euro-zone because of their massive debts.

"One has so mishandled the Greek problem that the best way forward at present might be an orderly exit" with Greece leaving both the EU and the euro common currency, he said in an interview published Sunday by the German magazine Spiegel.

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Gulf Markets Open Positive, Except Saudi

Stock markets in the Gulf, except Saudi Arabia, opened up on Sunday after a volatile week trailing the behavior of global markets hit by uncertainty over European and U.S. economic woes.

The Dubai Financial Market index continued its rise on Sunday after returning to the green in the latter part of last week.

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Madrid Lays on Lavish Party for Pope Amid Economic Crisis

Madrid is laying on a lavish party for Pope Benedict XVI and more than a million faithful for the Catholic Church's youth festival this week -- as Spain suffers its worst economic crisis in decades.

The irony has not been lost on the country's 15-M "indignant" movement, launched on May 15 against the management of the economic crisis, soaring unemployment and political corruption.

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BMW Extends Contracts in U.S. Union Dispute

Luxury automaker BMW said Saturday it had agreed to a contract extension for employees at a California warehouse following a union dispute that had threatened to go national.

"We had a good discussion with the Teamsters and we intend to extend the contract for six months to provide the time to address the substantive issues," said company spokesman Tom Kowaleski.

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Italy Says Eurobonds Would Have Prevented Crisis

The issuance of Eurobonds, something the EU is considering, would have prevented the current debt crisis enveloping the Eurozone, Italy's Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti said Saturday.

Tremonti told a press conference in Rome that there is now "a fundamental need for greater consolidation of public finances in Europe."

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World Bank Chief Says "More Dangerous" Times Ahead

World Bank chief Robert Zoellick on Saturday warned of a "new and more dangerous" time in the global economy, with little breathing space in most developed countries as a debt crisis hits Europe.

Zoellick said the Eurozone's sovereign debt issues were more troubling than the "medium and long-term" problems which saw the United States downgraded by Standard and Poor's last week, sending global markets into panic.

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Europe Short-Sales Ban Helps sentiment, Stocks Turn Firmer

European stock markets were holding onto gains Friday after another rollercoaster ride as nervous investors tried to get ahead of the curve and a short-selling ban in Europe helped the under-fire banks.

France, Italy, Spain and Belgium banned short-selling in bank stocks after rumors about their financial health saw them suffer massive losses in recent days and then Germany upped the ante by calling for a Europe-wide bar.

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Ghana, China Reach $800 Million Gas Development Deal

Ghana will borrow $800 million from China to build natural gas infrastructure, the head of the national gas company said Friday, months after the country became Africa's newest major oil producer.

"An agreement has been reached and we have secured $800 million (560 million euros) from the Chinese Development Bank for the project to take off," George Sipa-Adzah Yankey told Agence France Presse on Friday.

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Oil Falls Below $85 as Traders Eye EU Debt Crisis

Oil prices fell below $85 a barrel Friday in Asia as investors tried to make sense of a week of sharp zigzags in the equity and commodities markets.

Benchmark oil for September delivery was down $1.08 to $84.64 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude rose $2.83, or 3.4 percent, to settle at $85.72 on Thursday.

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