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The European Central Bank is holding an emergency telephone conference Sunday on how to fend off financial collapse in Italy while officials from rich and developing countries discussed ways to stabilize markets when they reopen after Friday's U.S credit-rating downgrade.
A eurozone official told The Associated Press that central bank leaders were to discuss possible purchases of Italian government bonds _ a risky move but one that could help drive down bond interest yields that are threatening the heavily indebted country's finances.
Middle East markets, open Sunday through Thursday, were the first to react to the downgrade. Egypt's benchmark EGX30 index fell more than 4 percent, and other Gulf markets also were sharply lower.
Israel's Tel Aviv Stock Exchange delayed the start of the week's first session after pre-market trade showed the benchmark index dropping more than 6 percent because of concerns over the U.S. debt rating cut. Exchange spokeswoman Idit Yaaron said the start was pushed back by 45 minutes "so market players will have time to react logically and not under pressure."
Israel's benchmark TA-25 index plunged 7 percent to close at 1,074 points.
G7 finance ministers are meeting right now to try and stop the bleeding later today and tomorrow...