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Germany considers aid to Greece - reports

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The German government may offer an aid package to Greece and other debt-ridden European nations in an effort to stave off the default concerns that have stunted global markets, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, said a loan guarantee plan would be led by Germany but completed along with European Union partners.

The threat of a default in Greece has given investors pause, as the effect would likely ripple to other members of 16-nation euro zone. Other debt-choked nations in the bloc include Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy.

European Union officials are set to meet Thursday to discuss the economy, and Greece is expected to be a major topic on the docket.

In December, Greece's credit rating was downgraded. S&P's move came after health care companies complained that the country was behind on payments related to its public health system.

Investors across the globe have been trying to digest what impact such a crisis would have on the nascent signs of recovery, and ripple-effect fears have sent worldwide markets lower.

The WSJ article said Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, has discussed the aid idea in with European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.

But earlier Tuesday, Reuters reported that German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm called reports that a decision was already in effect "unfounded."

A bailout of Greece would mark the first time any EU country rescued a euro zone member.

The U.S. stock market was cheered by the reports of possible Greek aid, as the blue-chip Dow index (INDU) added almost 2% with less than 2 hours left in the session. The euro also rose in late trading. To top of page

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