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SYDNEY, Feb 12 AAP

February 12 2013, 07:25AM

A roundup of news in finance, economics and business from around the world:

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

PARIS - Standard & Poor's has revised the outlook on Ireland's credit rating from negative to stable after the country restructured how it finances its bank bailout as it will improve the country's finances.

LONDON - Senior politicians have launched an independent panel, that includes former environment minister Robert Hill, into management of the world's oceans, which are facing unprecedented overfishing, pollution and habitat loss.

PARIS - France and Britain have called for the "criminals" who disguised horsemeat as beef to be tracked down, as Romania angrily denied it is to blame for the frozen food scandal spreading across Europe.

THE HAGUE - The heirs of a Dutch internet inventor are suing Facebook for allegedly infringing his patents with the US social networking site's "like" and "share" buttons, court documents seen on Monday said.

LONDON - Britain's accounting watchdog says it has opened an investigation into the software company accused of misleading investors prior to its multibillion-dollar takeover by American giant Hewlett-Packard.

LONDON - Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester has defended his right to a bonus, one week after the bank was fined $US612 million ($A596 million) over Libor rate rigging.

NEW YORK - Dell is trying to reassure shareholders about its proposed $US24.4 billion ($A23.8 billion) acquisition by a group led by its founder, saying it considered a number of strategic options before agreeing to the deal.

PARIS - French cosmetics giant L'Oreal says its net profit rose by 17.6 per cent last year to 2.87 billion euros ($A3.74 billion) and it expects to top the performance in 2013.

AMSTERDAM - Dutch supermarket operator Royal Ahold NV says it has agreed to sell its 60 per cent stake in Scandinavian retailer ICA for 21.2 billion krona ($A3.21 billion) to investment group Hakon Invest.

NEW YORK - Apple is testing a watch-like device that could perform some smartphone functions, US media reports say.

WELLINGTON - The New Zealand dollar rose against most of its trading peers after a contender for Bank of Japan chief said he favoured more stimulus and after Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann scotched comments that the euro is overvalued.

LONDON - Oil prices have fallen in London as dealers took profits from recent gains, but the market rebounded in New York as the euro strengthened against the dollar after supportive comments from the Bundesbank.

LOCAL NEWS

SYDNEY - The Australian dollar is slightly lower, after US stocks lost ground overnight.

SYDNEY - The Australian market looks set to open higher despite a mixed showing on European markets and falls on Wall Street.

CANBERRA - Thousands of taxpayers could lose their super contributions to tax if they inadvertently breach the annual voluntary contributions cap, the opposition says.