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European Stocks Edge Higher, Post Modest Weekly Gain

European stocks rallied in the final hour of Friday's session, ending a choppy week in positive territory despite concerns about the region's economy.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks advanced 0.62 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, was down 0.01 percent.

The German DAX advanced 0.81 percent and the French CAC 40 was up 0.57 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 was down 0.05 percent while Switzerland's SMI eased 0.27 percent.

Exane BNP cut Commerzbank to "Underperform" from "Neutral," while Merrill Lynch raised Deutsche Bank to "Buy" from "Neutral." Merrill also added Deutsche Bank to "Europe 1 List."

Deutsche Bank rallied 4.5 percent.

Basf gained 1.4 percent. The chemicals giant, which reported higher fourth-quarter earnings, sees growth in fiscal year 2012 earnings and sales.

SAP picked up 2 percent. The company decided to hike dividend by 83 percent. Morgan Stanley re-initiated the stock with an "Overweight" rating.

Eiffage rose 16 percent on some positive remarks from the chief executive officer about growth in 2012.

In London, Lloyds Banking rose 2.1 percent. The lender reported a huge loss for fiscal year 2011 and warned of lower income and margins in 2012.

by RTT Staff Writer

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