Bank of China announced it would offer new shares, which could raise up to $30 billion in capital. Meanwhile, China's stockmarkets wobbled on more speculation that the government was reining in lending and ordering banks to increase their capital reserves.

Rusal made its much-heralded debut on the Hong Kong stockmarket after a delay during which officials pondered the risk to investors from the Russian aluminium company's debt. Its share price plunged by 11 percent on the first day of trading amid a broad sell-off in Asian markets.

America's biggest-ever residential property deal unraveled when Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty decided to hand over control of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, a residential estate in Manhattan, to creditors rather than engage in a contested bankruptcy proceeding. The complex was bought in 2006 for $5.4 billion, but is now valued at $1.9 billion. The venture struggled to restructure debt and the courts blocked increases to the regulated rents.

Britain's economy started growing again in the fourth quarter of 2009. However, the country's GDP was a mere 0.1 percent bigger than in the previous three months. Britain's mounting debt burden, forecast to rise to 78 percent of GDP by 2014, continued to worry investors. Pimco, one of the world's biggest bond investors, declared that British gilts were "resting on a bed of nitroglycerine."

Greek bond yields hit a 10-year high when the government denied reports that it had asked China to help it in funding public debt. Financial markets have been jittery over Greece's deficit -- though the government completed a successful sale of five-year bonds last week that brought in $11 billion.

Yahoo reported a profit of $153 million in the fourth quarter. Revenue from display advertisements rose by 26 percent compared with the third quarter. Google said recently that its paid clicks in the United States (the number of times a user clicks on an ad) rose by 9 percent in the last three months of 2009 compared with the third quarter.

General Motors appointed Ed Whitacre as chief executive. Whitacre, who is also GM's chairman, had been given the job on an interim basis after Fritz Henderson's abrupt resignation in December. GM also said it would repay the debt portion of its government aid by June, sooner than it had forecast.

GM found a new buyer for Saab, two months after a deal with Sweden's Koenigsegg fell apart. In a complex deal, Spyker, a Dutch maker of sports cars, will now acquire the marque and save thousands of jobs at Saab's Swedish factories.

"Avatar" passed "Titanic" to become the world's highest-grossing film, according to its distributor, Twentieth Century Fox. The movie had racked up around $2 billion in receipts just seven weeks after its release.

Political economy Describing the burqa as "a challenge to our republic," a parliamentary committee in France called for the Muslim face-covering veil to be banned in hospitals, schools and on public transport. The committee fell short of recommending a ban in all public spaces, a measure some of its members had sought.

Ilker Basbug, head of the Turkish army, angrily denied allegations that generals were plotting to overturn Turkey's government. A newspaper had claimed that the army planned to plant bombs in a mosque and to take advantage of the ensuing chaos to engineer a coup.

Ramon Carrizalez, Venezuela's vice president and defense minister, resigned, denying rumors of a split with President Hugo Chavez. Meanwhile, the government ordered cable-television providers to stop carrying a pro-opposition channel, RCTV.

As foreign ministers from some 70 countries gathered in London for a conference on Afghanistan's future, the United Nations removed five former Taliban officials from a blacklist of people with supposed links to Al-Qaida.