U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 37 mins

Norway holds key rate despite economy fears

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Norway's central bank has kept its key interest rate at 1.5 percent even though it warned of an economic slowdown.

After the expected announcement Thursday, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said the country's economy was being buffeted by the ongoing recession across large parts of Europe.

Stoltenberg said there were no guarantees Norway will continue to perform as well as it has done recently and noted rising unemployment and lower industrial investments and exports to other European countries.

His comments to reporters in Oslo came as world stock markets fell sharply after the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted it might scale back a stimulus program later this year.