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EU Shares Gain as Bank Sell-Off Abates 02/12 06:40

   European shares rose Friday, shrugging off a bad day in Asia, as the 
sell-off in banking shares abated and oil prices rebounded from a 12-year low. 
But Japan's main stock index lost nearly 5%, leading other Asian markets lower.

   TOKYO (AP) -- European shares rose Friday, shrugging off a bad day in Asia, 
as the sell-off in banking shares abated and oil prices rebounded from a 
12-year low. But Japan's main stock index lost nearly 5 percent, leading other 
Asian markets lower.

   In early trading, Germany's DAX was up 1.3 percent at 8,863.25 and Britain's 
FTSE 100 leapt 1.3 percent to 5,611.99. France's CAC 40 advanced 1.3 percent to 
3,948.44. Wall Street was set to snap its losing streak. Dow futures rose 0.8 
percent to 15,737.00 and S&P 500 futures added 1 percent to 1,842.20.

   Shares in Germany's Commerzbank AG jumped 11 percent after it reported 
strong gains in fourth quarter net profit and forecast further gains for this 
year. Deutsche Bank AG's shares rose 3.8 percent and Credit Suisse Group AG 
jumped 5 percent.

   News that Germany's economy expanded at a 0.3 percent pace last quarter, as 
earlier estimated, further underpinned buying.

   It was a sharp turnaround from trading in Asia, where Tokyo's Nikkei 225 
plunged 4.8 percent to 14,952.61 after earlier sinking as much as 5.3 percent. 
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.2 percent to 18,319.58. Markets in China and 
Taiwan have been closed all week for Lunar New Year holidays and will reopen on 

   Japan's finance minister, Taro Aso, and other senior leaders said Friday 
they hoped for a united response from major economies to the market volatility. 
Finance ministers of the Group of 20 nations that account for most of the world 
economy are due to meet in Shanghai later this month.

   A surprise decision by the Bank of Japan late last month to introduce a 
negative interest rate for some deposits it holds for banks has so far not 
helped to stabilize markets.

   "Global central bank policy is increasingly becoming a symptom of what's 
wrong with the financial markets and real growth than a cure for economic 
ills," said Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG in Singapore. "We may not have 
seen the worst yet. The performance of Chinese equities when they return next 
week will be key to whether the global stock rout would go on or not," he said 
in a market report.

   Global stocks have been in a slump since the beginning of the year when 
China's market, which had been propped up by government buying, plunged 
dramatically. Concerns about China, however, are now just one of several 
factors behind the slide.

   Investors recognize that prices rose too high during several years of 
artificial support from the ultra-easy monetary policies of central banks that 
were trying to foster economic recovery following the 2009 global recession. A 
crunch moment has arrived as global economic growth wanes again and the Federal 
Reserve signals it is still committed to raising U.S. interest rates from 
record lows.

   Among other Asian markets, South Korea's Kospi gave up 1.4 percent to 
1,835.28 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.2 percent to 4,765.30. Shares in 
New Zealand and Southeast Asia also fell.

   Benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.27 to $27.48 a barrel in electronic trading 
on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract tumbled to $26.21 in New York 
on Thursday, its lowest level since May 2003, as investors fled to the 
traditional havens of bonds and precious metals.

   Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, gained $1.46 to $31.52 a 
barrel in London. It dropped 78 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $30.06 on Thursday.

   The dollar rose to 112.52 yen on Friday from 112.29 the previous day, while 
the euro fell to $1.1269 from $1.1315.


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