Plus   Neg

German Market Posts Modest Gains

The German market is making modest gains on Friday, in the absence of any important economic news. That said, some broker recommendations did impact investor sentiment. The Asian markets ended mostly lower on profit taking and the U.S. index futures are nearly unchanged ahead of the key U.S. consumer price data.

The International Monetary Fund approved a 28 billion euros loan for Greece despite doubts raised by some members about the ability of the eurozone nation to implement a four-year program that includes stringent austerity measures.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.12 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is advancing 0.26 percent.

The DAX index is currently adding 0.10 percent.

Insurers Allianz and MunichRe are advancing 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Airline Lufthansa is gaining 1.6 percent. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank are moderately higher.

Automakers are in negative territory after Bernstein cut European autos to "Neutral."

Daimler is losing 1.1 percent. Bernstein reduced its rating on the stock to "Market-perform" from "Outperform."

The brokerage also cut Porsche to "Underperform" from "Market-perform." The stock is losing about 3 percent.

K+S is down 0.2 percent. ING raised the stock to "Buy" from "Hold."

Wacker Chemie is falling 2 percent. HSBC lowered the stock to "Neutral" from "Overweight."

Air Berlin is losing 1.6 percent. The second largest German airline said it is looking at the future more positively after poor 2011 results that were hurt by additional taxes and one-off effects, apart from unfavorable weather and strikes.

Elsewhere in Europe, the French CAC 40 is adding 0.07 pecrent and the UK's FTSE 100 gaining 0.27 percent. Switzerland's SMI is rising 0.01 percent.

Across Asia/Pacific, Australia's All Ordinaries lost 0.05 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.17 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.06 percent while China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.30 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a nearly flat open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages closed firmly in positive territory, benefiting from another batch of positive U.S. economic data, including more upbeat jobs data. The Dow rose 0.4 percent, the Nasdaq climbed 0.5 percent and the S&P 500 advanced 0.6 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is adding $0.40 to $105.51 per barrel while gold is dropping $9.9 to $1649.6 a troy ounce.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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