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Where Wall Street goes to skirt regulations

LONDON — Years after the Lehman meltdown, US taxpayers are officially on bailout duty, regardless of where in the world the American bank makes its bets. That could cost us a fortune. 

Bernanke defends the role of the Fed in recovery

Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, defended his record during the economic crisis and highlighted the importance of regulating the economy to ensure stability in a speech.

European economic news round-up

Quiet day in the financial markets but heating up elsewhere
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The Occupy movement has begun setting up Camp Igloo in Davos in advance of next week's annual World Economic Forum meeting. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Update: S&P has just announced it is making one more downgrade, to a critical issuer of European debt: the European Financial Stability Fund has lost its AAA rating. In parallel with France, it has gone from AAA to AA+.

Last Friday, Standard & Poor's downgraded several euro-zone countries credit ratings, most notably France, which went from AAA to AA+. The headline the next day Britain's Guardian newspaper was  "Friday the 13th" with its attendant implications of misfortune.

Today, there was no sign of Jason Voorhees ripping up Europe.  The financial markets shrugged everything off. The CAC 40 in Paris finished up 0.9 percent while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt closed up 1.25 percent. The FTSE in London was up 0.4 percent. Not exciting but not negative.

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Europe: daily econ news round-up

Stocks down, bonds sell, meetings held, rumors circulating
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Heckuva job, Monti, or words to that effect, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel praises Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti today for the reforms he has already brought to the Italian economy. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Rumors first: Yesterday, France was assured by Fitch ratings service it would keep its AAA rating for the rest of the year. Today French finance minister Francois Baroin was forced to knock down rumors that one of the other agencies has notified him that they intend to downgrade France anyway.

"False" was the word Baroin used to describe the rumors.

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European financial markets say goodbye and good riddance to 2011

Major exchanges were up on the day but down for the year
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The twin symbols of the European economies catastrophic 2011: an Occupy protester outside the European Central Bank (Ralph Orlowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Europe's financial markets lost ground in 2011. Next year doesn't look much better as one of Europe's big economies, Spain, tries to halve its deficit by cutting spending and raising taxes
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