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Portugal's clean bailout exit more likely after Greek bond success: Eurogroup head

By Jan Strupczewski WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Greece's success in tapping markets on Thursday raise the chances that Portugal will not need a precautionary credit line when it exits the euro zone bailout in mid-May, the head of euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said on Friday. Athens, which had been locked out of capital markets for four years and was bailed out with 240 billion euros ($333 billion) as its economy faltered, issued a bond on Thursday and received bids seven times the amount on offer.

Asian shares slip after Wall St rout

Asia's markets fell on Friday following hefty plunges on Wall Street as US technology stocks suffered another sell-off, while China released data showing inflation picked up in March but was still below forecasts. Tokyo led the decline, plunging 2.38 percent, or 340.07 points, to 13,960.05 -- its lowest close in six months, while Seoul lost 0.56 percent, or 11.17 points, to 1,997.44 and Sydney shed 0.95 percent, or 52.15 points, to 5,428.6.

Asian tech stocks plunge as sell-off that began on Wall Street proves contagious

HONG KONG - Internet and technology stocks tumbled across Asia on Monday as a sell-off spread from Wall Street where investors knocked down such companies over worries about excessively high valuations. Mainstays of the Internet economy such as Google and Netflix that have surged over the past year were hammered on Friday as investors had a change of heart and decided prices were too high. The technology-heavy Nasdaq had its biggest one-day drop since February.

German factory orders rise again in February in latest sign Europe's largest economy growing

BERLIN - German factory orders rose in February in the latest sign that Europe's largest economy is picking up speed. The Federal Statistical Office said Friday new orders rose 0.6 per cent over January, when adjusted for calendar and seasonal factors. Domestic orders rose 1.2 per cent while foreign orders increased 0.2 per cent. New orders from other nations using the euro currency rose a robust 5.9 per cent, offsetting a decline of 3.1 per cent of orders from non-eurozone countries.

German industry orders rise in February, point to strong first quarter

By Sarah Marsh BERLIN (Reuters) - Domestic demand drove a stronger-than-expected 0.6 percent rise in German industrial orders in February, Economy Ministry data showed on Friday, marking the fourth consecutive monthly gain and underscoring the pickup in Germany's mighty industry. The increase in seasonally-adjusted orders beat the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of 32 economists for a rise of 0.1 percent. The gain in January orders was revised downwards to 0.1 percent from an originally reported 1.2 percent.

Britain's FTSE steadies after Tullow helps it hit three-week high

By Alistair Smout LONDON (Reuters) - British blue-chip shares steadied after testing a three-week high on Thursday, as the end of a two-week rally in mining shares offset gains by Tullow Oil. Market moves were muted, however, before a meeting of the European Central Bank, as investors waited to see if the ECB would act in the face of deflation fears. The British FTSE 100 <.FTSE> gave up a 0.2 percent gain, which took it to its highest since March 12, to trade roughly flat at 6,657.00 by 1046 GMT.

France, Italy must continue reforms

France's incoming cabinet and Italy's recently installed new team should stick to reforms that will help make Europe more competitive, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Tuesday. "We need to continue working on the stabilisation of budgets and at the same time become more competitive," Dijsselbloem told reporters ahead of a eurozone finance ministers' meeting in Athens. "That requires more reforms, also in France," he added, in a message also directed to Italy.

Spain's deflation rate of 0.2 per cent ups pressure on European Central Bank to loosen policy

MADRID - Spain's inflation rate dipped into negative territory this month, official data showed Friday, a development likely to add pressure on the European Central Bank to ease its monetary policies. The National Statistics Institute said consumer prices in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy fell 0.2 per cent in March compared with a year earlier.

Spain barely misses 2013 deficit target

Spain reported Friday it had barely missed its deficit-cutting target for 2013, hailing the result as a significant achievement in a year of job-wrecking recession. Spain's public deficit fell to the equivalent of 6.62 percent of total economic output in 2013 from 6.84 percent in 2012, just failing to meet a 6.5-percent target, Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro told a news conference. "It is a positive figure, especially because it was a year of recession," Montoro said. "Spain is reducing its public deficit," he added.

Eurozone consumers bullish despite Crimea crisis

Eurozone consumers and businesses have shrugged off the Crimea crisis and are at their most confident for two and a half years, a survey from the European Commission showed on Friday. The Commission's index of consumer and business sentiment for March rose for the 11th month in a row, hitting a 30-month high of 102.4 points. Sentiment rose strongly in the countries on the edge of the eurozone where the debt crisis hit hardest. The index was up 2.2 points in Spain and 1.3 points in Italy.
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