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German Market Modestly Higher

The German market is modestly higher on Monday, after a report showed improvement in the country's business confidence. Markets across Asia/Pacific were cautious while the U.S. index futures point to a higher open.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister and economist Mario Monti expressed concerns about Spain's public finances and warned the European Union is worried about "contagion" from Spain's debt crisis.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.26 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.09 percent.

After opening slightly higher, the DAX index has been seeing volatile trading. The index is currently adding 0.59 percent.

Henkel is gaining 2.3 percent. Linde and Basf are notably higher.

Daimler is up 0.9 percent, while BMW and Volkswagen are moderately down.

Deutsche Bank is losing 0.4 percent and Commerzbank is marginally down.

Metro is declining 2.15 percent. Insurer Allianz and steel giant ThyssenKrupp are notably lower.

WestLB raised SMA Solar to "Add" from "Neutral." The stock is up 0.7 percent.

Berenberg lowered its rating on Douglas to "Sell" from "Hold." The stock is losing 1 percent.

Elsewhere in Europe, the French CAC 40 is rising 0.23 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 is advancing 0.42 percent and Switzerland's SMI is gaining 0.39 percent.

In economic news, German business confidence improved to 109.8 in March from 109.7 a month ago, the Munich-based Ifo institute reportedly said. The index stayed above the expected reading of 109.5.

Separately, a leading indicator of the Eurozone economy increased for the third consecutive month in February, led by investor and business confidence, data from a survey by Conference Board revealed. The Conference Board leading economic index for the euro area increased 0.8 percent to 105.2, after rising 1.1 percent in January.

Across Asia/Pacific, markets were cautious, partly in response to disappointing new home sales data from the U.S. and concerns about a slowdown in China. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose slightly to close up 0.05 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 ended up 0.07 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended flat while Australia's All Ordinaries lost 0.13 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a slightly higher open for the markets. Wall Street finished a choppy day of trading in positive territory on Friday. The Dow gained 0.27 percent, the Nasdaq advanced 0.15 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.3 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for May delivery is sliding $0.22 to $106.65 per barrel and April gold is losing $1.6 to $1660.8 a troy ounce.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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