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French Market Rises

The French market is marginally higher on Monday amid some volatility, after a report showing improvement in Germany's business confidence lifted markets in the region. 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.

Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to be on course to win elections held in the western Saarland state, preliminary results and exit polls showed.

Preliminary results indicate that the CDU would receive at least 35.2 percent of the votes polled in Saarland state elections, thereby consolidating its 12-year hold hold on the state governor's office.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is rising 0.24 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.46 percent.

The CAC 40 index has been volatile and is currently adding 0.06 percent.

Technip is surging 4.1 percent. The company won a 600 million euros worth contract from BP and its operating partners in the UK North Sea-based Quad 204 project.

Essilor International is gaining 1.4 percent and Publicis Groupe is rising 1.3 percent.

Schneider Electric and Pernod-Ricard are adding 1 percent each. Societe Generale raised Schneider Electric to "Buy" from "Hold."

ArcelorMittal is declining 1.8 percent. Bouygues, Axa, EDF and Saint-Gobain are notably lower.

Peugeot is declining 1.5 percent while Renault is up 0.4 percent.

Credit Agricole is losing 1.6 percent. BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are falling 1 percent each.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX 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 RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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