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French Market Advances

The French market rose on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted Monday that the Fed's accommodative policies would continue. The Asian markets mostly rallied on firm cues from the U.S. and futures indicate a higher open on Wall Street.

Bernanke said the U.S. unemployment rate has declined faster than the Fed predicted but cautioned that the jobs market remains far from normal. Speaking at the National Association for Business Economics Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., Bernanke assured that the Fed's zero-interest rate policy and other support measures will help reduce unemployment over time by promoting economic growth.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is climbing 0.38 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. Companies, is rising 0.13 percent.

The CAC 40 index is currently gaining 0.26 percent.

Accor is climbing 4.2 percent and Alcatel Lucent is rising 3.5 percent.

Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are advancing between 1.9 percent and 1.2 percent.

STMicroelectronics is declining 2.9 percent. Societe Generale lowered its rating on the stock to "Hold" from "Buy."

Exane BNP raised Schneider Electric to "Outperform" from "Neutral." The shares are advancing 1.9 percent.

Air Liquide was cut to "Neutral" from "Overweight" at JPMorgan. The stock is up 0.1 percent.

UBS initiated PPR with a "Buy" rating. The stock is higher by 1.1 percent.

Air France-KLM is losing 2.4 percent on a newspaper report that the Air France unit needs to refinance by the end of next year.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is climbing 0.57 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is rising 0.06 percent. Switzerland's SMI is gaining 0.18 percent.

In economic news, Germany's consumer confidence is set to drop in April, a survey by market research group GfK showed. The forward-looking consumer sentiment index came in at 5.9, down slightly from 6 points in March. Economists were expecting it to remain stable at 6 points.

Across Asia/Pacific, markets ended mostly higher on hopes of further stimulus from the Fed. Australia's All Ordinaries gained 0.84 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.8 percent and
Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 2.36 percent. However, China's Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.15 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages closed firmly in positive territory as traders reacted positively to remarks by Bernanke. The Dow jumped 1.2 percent, the Nasdaq soared 1.8 percent and the S&P 500 surged up 1.4 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for May delivery is adding $0.20 to $107.23 per barrel and April gold is rising $7.5 to $1693.1 a troy ounce.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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