European Market Updates
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German Market Slightly Higher

The German market is marginally up in early afternoon trading Wednesday, even as economic worries continued to dent investor confidence. The Asian markets ended mostly lower while the U.S. index futures point to a higher open.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it is far too early to declare victory in the U.S. economic recovery, as joblessness was still at a troubling high and housing markets still weak. Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said in Tokyo that the European debt crisis is almost over.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.14 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is falling 0.11 percent.

Despite some choppy trading, the DAX index is currently adding 0.05 percent.

BMW is losing 1.3 percent. Daimler is moderately lower and Volkswagen is slightly down. WestLB lowered its rating on Man to "Reduce" from "Neutral." The stock is rising 0.2 percent.

K+S and ThyssenKrupp are notably lower.

Commerzbank is losing about 1 percent while Deutsche Bank is down 0.3 percent.

Citigroup initiated Merck with a "Neutral" rating. The stock is up 0.4 percent.

Infineon Technologies and Fresenius Medical Care are climbing 3.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Industrial robots maker Kuka reported significantly higher annual earnings with improved performance in both robotics and Systems segments. The company expects fiscal 2012 sales in line or above last year and higher EBIT margin. The stock is advancing 1.9 percent.

Cheuvreux initiated Axel Springer with an "Outperform" rating. The stock is falling 0.6 percent.

Elsewhere in Europe, the French CAC 40 is losing 0.02 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is dropping 0.10 percent. Switzerland's SMI is flat.

In economic news, the French economy expanded as estimated initially in the fourth quarter, the statistical office Insee said. However, in the UK, the gross domestic product fell 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter compared to the previously estimated 0.2 percent decline, revised data released by the Office for National Statistics showed.

Across Asia/Pacific, most major markets ended in the red. China's Shanghai Composite Index retreated 2.65 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.77 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.71 percent. Australia's All Ordinaries, however, added 0.91 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout much of the session and the major averages posted modest losses to end the day. The Dow slipped 0.3 percent, the Nasdaq edged down 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 dipped 0.3 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for May delivery is losing $0.93 to $106.40 per barrel and April gold is sliding $8.6 to $1676.3 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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