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Asian Stock Markets Mixed; Europe Starts Positive


A man stands at the balcony above the DAX index board at Frankfurt's stock exchange, August 12, 2011

A man stands at the balcony above the DAX index board at Frankfurt's stock exchange, August 12, 2011

European stocks soared midday Friday following some gains in Asia at the end of an extremely volatile week at markets around the world.

Share prices in Britain, France and Germany were at least two percent higher by midday after France, Italy, Spain and Belgium banned the short-selling of stocks to calm market turmoil sparked by rumors about Europe's huge debts.

Short-selling is profiting from bets on the decline in a share price.

Meanwhile, Asian stock exchanges closed out Friday's trading session mostly higher.

European and U.S. stock markets rose sharply Thursday as buyers drew encouragement from a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4 percent, after plummeting almost five percent the day before. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ also closed higher Thursday.

Analysts say stocks received a boost Thursday from a U.S. government report that said first-time claims for jobless benefits fell to a four-month low in the past week. Many investors interpreted that as good news for the U.S. economy, following an unprecedented downgrade of the U.S. sovereign debt rating last week. That downgrade triggered Monday's sell-off.

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