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Hopes lift European stock markets

Hopes that European leaders will consider new ways to fight the debt crisis, including a contained Greek default, have reassured investors.

Over the weekend, European officials said Germany and other rich EU countries are pushing for a new strategy to the debt crisis, which is threatening to take down the eurozone's larger economies.

It is not clear if the proposals will gain support but the fact that they were being considered spurred stock markets in Europe after a week of disastrous losses.

Wall Street was drawing comfort from the new plans, though less than the European bourses.

"For now at least, it looks as if markets are giving some credence to a firm plan on how to tackle the debt crisis beginning to emerge," said Ben Critchley, a sales trader with IG Index. "But if recent experience is anything to go by, this patience is unlikely to last too long if details are not forthcoming."

In fact, the optimism was not extending to the euro, which has been battered by the continent's debt problems and fears that the currency itself could collapse.

Oil, too, was lower, indicating that concerns about the overall health of the global economy remain.

Asia followed that trend as well with falls in South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng.

Mainland China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped to its lowest close in 14 months.

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