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Premarket: Banking on banks and Greece Add to ...

Uncertainty over the European economic crisis kept investors on edge, as French and German banks indicated they could roll over Greek debt and the Greek parliament began debating a new set of austerity measures.

Britain's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 rose 0.3 per cent. Germany's DAX was little changed.

Stock futures on Wall Street indicated a slightly higher opening, with Dow futures gaining 0.2 per cent and S&P 500 futures rising 0.3 per cent.

French banks, among the biggest holders of Greek sovereign debt, are ready to help Athens by accepting a significant debt rollover, President Nicolas Sarkozy said. German banks said that they were interested in a similar plan as well.

Greece's parliament began to debate a deeply unpopular austerity plan, which international lenders would like to see approved this week to avert bankruptcy. Greece's conservative opposition has rejected EU leaders' calls for national unity, forcing Prime Minister George Papandreou to rely on his slim parliamentary majority to push through the $40-billion (U.S.) package of tax increases and spending cuts.

Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1 per cent as Moody's Investors Service said the country could face a third "lost" decade of sluggish economic growth that will leave it struggling with the heaviest debt burden among developed nations..

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.6 per cent.

The Canadian dollar lost ground, slipping to $1.0112 (U.S.), while the euro rose to $1.4214.

U.S. light crude futures fell 60 cents to $90.56 a barrel, having touched lows of $89.82 a barrel earlier.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was trading at $9,023 a tonne from $9,050 a tonne on Friday.

Gold held near $1,500 an ounce.

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