German stocks rebounded on Friday following a big sell-off the day before, as optimism over the upcoming eurozone meeting spurred bargain hunting in beaten down stocks.
With worries growing about Spain's fiscal health, alongside its neighbor Portugal, EU ministers will discuss boosting the combined firepower of the region's two bailout funds to as high as EUR 940 billion from EUR 500 billion at a meeting later in the day, reports say.
Investors are also waiting for Spain's new budget cuts as the government struggles to discipline the regional governments that it blames for exacerbating the country's fiscal problems.
Cyclical shares are gaining ground, with steelmaker ThyssenKrupp up 2.6 percent and automaker Daimler rising 3 percent.
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG is up nearly 2 percent after the logistics firm reported a higher profit for full year 2011, helped by strong results from its core business operated by Port Logistics Subgroup. For 2012, the company said it expects revenues, container throughput and results to grow in the region of 5 percent.
Shares of Lufthansa are rising 1.8 percent after the carrier announced plans to issue notes convertible to JetBlue common stock.
The benchmark DAX is currently at 6,945, up 70 points or a little over a percent from its previous close, while France's CAC 40 is gaining 1.16 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 is moving up 0.62 percent and Switzerland's SMI is adding half a percent.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is rising 0.9 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is up 0.6 percent.
Across Asia, stocks ended on a mixed note, as continued worries about slowing global growth tempered gains stemming from reports that Eurozone leaders will likely achieve positive results on the region's sovereign debt crisis.
Commodities are edging higher and trading in the Dow futures point to a higher start on Wall Street, as investors await personal income and spending data for further clues about the state of the world's largest economy.
On the macroeconomic front, data released today showed that German retail sales declined unexpectedly for a second consecutive month in February, as concerns regarding rising fuel prices largely eclipsed positive sentiment from strong labor market conditions. The calendar and seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 1.1 percent month-over-month in real terms in February, following a 1.2 percent drop in January.
by RTT Staff Writer
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