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UK Market Slightly Higher

The UK 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 0.45 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. Companies, is rising 0.16 percent.

The FTSE 100, erased some of the early gains, and is currently rising 0.10 percent.

Royal Bank of Scotland is climbing 5.2 percent on reports that the UK government, which has an 82 percent stake in the lender, is in talks to sell upto one third of its holding to Abu Dhabi.

Compass is losing about 3 percent. The catering group expects like-for-like revenue growth in the first half to be below the levels of the prior year, as challenging economic conditions continue to impact like-for-like volume in the UK and parts of Europe.

Kazakhmys is climbing 3.7 percent. The copper miner with main assets in Kazakhstan reported higher pre-tax profit for the year, as benefits from higher commodity prices for its major products more than offset lower sales volumes. The company upped its dividend by 27 percent and issued an optimistic outlook.

Afren is up 3.4 percent. The company reported a sharply higher pretax profit for 2011.

Resolution is falling 3.6 percent after reporting a loss for 2011.

Wolseley is losing 1.2 percent. The company said like-for-like growth trends since the end of the first half have been slightly lower.

PZ Cussons is declining 9.6 percent. The company said overall trading from January 25 to March 26 in all markets, except Nigeria, had been in line with management expectations.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is climbing 0.69 percent and the French CAC 40 is rising 0.30 percent. Switzerland's SMI is gaining 0.19 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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