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Investors agonize as US teeters at edge of fiscal cliff

SYDNEY - Financial markets across Asia and Western Europe were either closed or closing early on Monday, abandoning the field as the US Congress and the White House battled it out for a solution to the impending "fiscal cliff".
Market holidays were in force in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, with half-day trading in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was effectively unchanged given the extensive market closures. It has gained about 18 percent this year, a sharp turnaround from an 18 percent plunge in 2011.
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