European Commentary
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European Markets In Positive Territory

3/21/2012 7:30 AM ET

The European markets are in positive territory in afternoon trading Wednesday, ahead of the budget presentation in the U.K., though some of the early gains were erased. The Asian markets were mostly weak on growth concerns about China while the U.S. index futures are higher before a release of the monthly existing home sales data.

U.K. Chancellor George Osborne is set to unveil the government's budget. Experts expect a budget targeting low and middle-income earning people.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is gaining 0.13 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is adding 0.14 percent.

The German DAX is advancing 0.36 percent and the French CAC 40 is gaining 0.09 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 is gaining 0.14 percent and Switzerland's SMI is adding 0.35 percent.

In Frankfurt, Commerzbank is up 1.2 percent and Deutsche Bank is rising 0.5 percent.

Citigroup raised Daimler to its "Strategy most favored list." The stock is down 0.1 percent. Volkswagen and BMW are moderately lower.

Morgan Stanley cut Adidas to "Underweight" from "Equalweight." The stock is falling 1.5 percent.

Metro is declining 4.2 percent. HSBC cut the stock to "Underweight" from Neutral."

HSBC raised Gildemeister to "Overweight" from "Neutral."The stock is gaining 2.4 percent.

Citigroup also raised Continental to its "Strategy most favored list." The stock is moderately higher.

Brenntag said it plans to grow all relevant earnings parameters in 2012. The stock is marginally up.

Bilfinger Berger is flat after confirming its earnings outlook for 2012.

In Paris, Cap Gemini is advancing 2.8 percent and Veolia Environnement is rising 1.35 percent.

Vivendi, Safran and Schneider Electric are notably lower.

BNP Paribas is moderately up while Credit Agricole and Societe Generale are flat.

Renault is up 0.7 percent while Peugeot is losing 1.7 percent.

In London, Sainsbury is climbing 3.4 percent after reporting higher sales for the fourth quarter.

Burberry group is up 1.2 percent and Marks & Spencer is gaining 1.6 percent.

Polymetal International is climbing 2.1 percent. Wolseley is up 2.7 percent.

Eurasian Natural Resources is declining about 3 percent. The company reported a lower pre-tax profit for 2011 and trimmed its dividend, but projected higher demand for 2012 despite the market remaining volatile.

Weir Group, a maker of pumps for the mining industry, is dropping 4.2 percent.

Aviva is declining 3.6 percent and Standard Life is losing 2.4 percent.

Lloyds Banking Group is declining 1.6 percent. Royal bank of Scotland is sliding 1.5 percent.

Spanish textile company Industria de Diseno Textil or Inditex posted a 12 percent increase in profit for the full year 2011 reflecting significant store expansion, particularly internationally. The stock is marginally up.

Across Asia/Pacific, markets had a mixed outing. Australia's All Ordinaries lost 0.43 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged down 0.15 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 retreated 0.55 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index, however, added 0.06 percent.

The U.S. futures indicate a slightly higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages climbed well off their early lows but still closed in the red. The Dow fell 0.5 percent, the Nasdaq edged down 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 slipped 0.3 percent.

Among commodities, crude for May delivery is adding $0.49 to $106.56 per barrel and April gold is rising $6.4 to $1653.4 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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