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French Market Advances Moderately

The French market is moderately higher in afternoon trading Wednesday, as the European Central Bank's second 3-year long term refinancing operation allotment topped expectations. Sentiment was also influenced by data showing German unemployment rate stayed at two-decade low. The Asian markets closed mostly higher, while the U.S. index futures are slightly up.

The ECB doled out a record 529.53 billion euros in the second round of three-year loans for banks. The move is set to improve liquidity and reduce the cost of funds. The latest offering saw 800 banks bidding compared to 523 in the December issue. The ECB made full allotment.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is advancing 0.72 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is rising 0.54 percent.

The CAC 40 index is currently advancing 0.52 percent.

Credit Agricole is climbing 4.8 percent. Societe Generale and BNP Paribas are advancing 2.8 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Grocery retailer Carrefour is adding 2.4 percent and speed-train maker Alstom is rising 2.1 percent.

Bouygues is declining 3.9 percent. The industrial conglomerate sees lower sales in fiscal 2012 reflecting anticipated decline in sales from telecom and France.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is adding 0.75 percent and Switzerland's SMI is rising 0.28 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 is advancing 0.07 percent.

In economic news, unemployment rate in Germany rose modestly in January, data released by the Federal Statistical Office revealed. The jobless rate, adjusted for seasonal and irregular effects, was 5.8 percent in January, up from 5.7 percent in December.

Eurozone inflation for January was revised down to 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent, final data from Eurostat showed. Inflation in December was 2.7 percent.

Across Asia/Pacific, most major markets ended higher. Australia's All Ordinaries advanced 0.85 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.52 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.01 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index, however, lost about 1 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages all ended the day in positive territory. The Dow edged up 0.2 percent, the Nasdaq rose 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.3 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is rising $0.84 to $107.39 per barrel while April gold is rising $3.7 to $1792.1 a troy ounce.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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