Around the World's Markets: New York

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STOCKS WERE higher at midday due to optimism about a strong aid package for Brazil and a cheering rate cut in Italy. After an initial bout of selling in financial stocks eased, stocks moved higher, buoyed by strength in oils and hi-techs. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 39 points to 8491.

The Standard & Poor's 500 was up nearly 8 points to 1079. Analysts said that, as the third quarter earnings period began to wrap up, the market's focus has started moving back towards the international arena.