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French Market Marginally Lower

The French market is marginally down in early afternoon trading Wednesday, 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 0.08 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is falling 0.16 percent.

The CAC 40 index is currently losing 0.03 percent.

Societe Generale is declining about 2 percent. Credit Agricole is losing 1.2 percent and BNP Paribas is falling 0.8 percent.

Total is retreating 1.8 percent. The oil giant said it could take up to six months to fix a gas leak at its Elgin oil fields in the North Sea.

Veolia Environnement is falling 1.7 percent.

Peugeot is advancing 1.3 percent while Renault is losing 0.2 percent.

Danone is climbing 1.7 percent. UBS raised the stock to "European Food & HPC Most Preferred List."

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is adding 0.02 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is dropping 0.16 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 RTTNews Staff Writer

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