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Foreign Markets Follow Dow

It started as a great day Friday in Tokyo and ended up just so-so, reports CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen.

AsiaÂ's top three markets started the day higher following Wall StreetÂ's lead, but in Tokyo, stock prices finished slightly lower after the optimistic start.

The market took off but then the profit-takers moved in and gobbled up the gains.

In the end, the Japan's Nikkei 225 index slipped 13.28 points closing at 15,488.86. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index leapt 1.30 percent, or 138.95 points to close at 10,801.76.

In Tokyo some investors' locked in gains after big rises this week on foreign buying interest and on expectation of improvement in the banking sector. Trading continued its recent rise with 1.19 billion shares changing hands compared to 1.05 billion on Thursday.

The Nikei is still well above 15,000. ThatÂ's good news, the best it has done since last November.

The market was helped also by news that Sony, one of JapanÂ's biggest companies is going to go through a major consolidation.

That is seen in Tokyo as a good sign that Sony will be lean and mean in the next century.

More good news came from JapanÂ's finance minister Friday. He said the economy has taken a turn for the better.

But government optimism in these parts is a bit like water poured into sand.

The Japanese have seen a lot of it and seen a lot of it disappear, so it will take a few more optimistic statements from a government official before these people in these parts believe the worst is over.

Meanwhile, the European stock markets are up nicely Friday, one or two percent, buoyed by the news that America is still enjoying a Goldilocks economy, reports CBS Senior European Correspondent Tom Fenton.

The real attention Friday morning is on Germany where the stock market was up sharply by more than 5 percent.

Businessmen and brokers are delighted by the departure of the German finance manager, Oskar Lafontaine.

He had been dubbed by the press "Red Oskar" and was an old fashioned tax and spend socialist who had piled new taxes on the German businesses, was trying to push for a higher taxes generally throughout Europe and to top it all off, was almost single handedly talking down the value of the new euro currency which was introduced in January.

Now that heÂ's gone, the euro has bounced back up some two percent, although it eased off in the last few hours, and the German stock market is going gangbusters.

LafontaineÂ's resignation could be a short-term thing. The underlying problem still remains the general recession in Europe, the high unemployment. These problems wonÂ't go away and it will be some time before they will be resolved.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly flirted with the 10,000 mark Thursday, coming within 64.54 points of the fabled barrier before backing off and closing up 124.60 points, or 1.3 percent, to 9,897.44.