WORLD FINANCE UPDATE:
The Australian dollar is higher, bouncing from the record lows it reached after the US Federal Reserve meeting.
At 0630 AEDT on Friday, the local unit was trading at 81.56 US cents, up from 81.35 cents on Thursday..
And the Australian share market looks set to open higher, after gains on Wall Street overnight.
At 0656 AEDT on Friday, the March share price index futures contract was up 66 points at 5,229..
MOSCOW, Dec 18 AFP - President Vladimir Putin has attempted to assuage fears of economic collapse and promised rapid recovery as he faced hundreds of journalists during the worst financial crisis of his rule.
MOSCOW - US carmaker General Motors says it is halting sales to dealers in Russia due to the falling rouble, following in the footsteps of a number of companies seeking to limit their risk until the currency stabilises.
ZURICH - Switzerland's central bank has announced it's introducing negative interest rates, in a bid to stop the Swiss franc - a safe haven currency - from gaining further value.
WASHINGTON - Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign of solid job security and growing confidence among employers.
LONDON - British Airways owner International Airlines Group has revealed it has made an informal takeover approach for Aer Lingus, but added that the Irish carrier had rejected its proposal.
BERLIN - A closely-watched survey shows business confidence in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has risen for the second month in a row as lower oil prices and a weaker euro helped brighten managers' outlook for the next six months
LONDON - British retail sales have risen strongly in November earlier as shoppers snapped up bargains on 'Black Friday' ahead of the festive season.