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The New Economy

Money Daily Brief: World stocks rise on Bernanke recession comment

By Anuj Chopra / September 16, 2009

An investor yawns as he looks at a stock price monitor in Shanghai. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was one of the few stock indexes to fall Wednesday, losing more than 1 percent because of concerns over financial and steel stocks.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

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– Updated 9:44 a.m. (13:44 p.m. UTC)

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World markets rise: Major Asian stock indexes closed higher and European stocks were up in midday trading, buoyed by Fed chief Ben Bernanke's comments that the US recession is "very likely over." Even London's FTSE index rose strongly despite a report showing unemployment in the United Kingdom now stands at its highest level since 1995. Separately, a private report said Europe toppled North America to emerge as the world’s wealthiest region last year. (Click on chart at right.)

US factories hum: Industrial production rose 0.8 percent in August, the second monthly upturn after 18 months of nearly continuous decline. The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent, suggesting little inflation risk. The trade deficit shrank in the second quarter to its lowest level in nearly eight years.

Bonus restrictions: An international board of regulators and central bankers will recommend temporary curbs on bankers' bonuses until banks meet tougher capital requirements. World leaders at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh next week will consider the proposal. Separately, Russia's finance minister said the government had reached an out-of-court settlement with Bank of New York Mellon over illegal wire transfers a decade ago.

Bleeding Airlines: There's a worldwide glut of airlines, according to the International Air Transport Association, whose sobering recommendation for the recession-wracked industry was further consolidation through shutdowns and robust acquisition and merger actions. Last year, 29 airlines shut down.

In My Backyard: The Indian government’s much-hyped austerity drive amid a looming drought and a flailing economy has prompted ministers to eschew private jets and swap five-star hotel rooms for spartan guest houses. The moves are largely dismissed as a farce by the Indian public as some ministers splurge on expensive Spanish wall tiles and Italian porcelain in their offices.

Anuj Chopra is a Monitor correspondent in Pune, India. For a look at the White House's stepped-up push on healthcare, see Obama seeks AFL-CIO support in healthcare fight.

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