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UK Market Moderately Higher

The UK market is moderately higher in afternoon trading Monday, even as euphoria about an unexpected rise in China's official purchasing mangers' index waned and concerns about the region's debt impacted sentiment.

The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, which conducts the survey on behalf of the National Bureau of Statistics, said Sunday that the purchasing mangers' index improved to 53.1 in March from 51 in February, the highest since March last year, thus easing concerns of a marked slowdown in economic growth in the world's second-largest economy. Economists had expected the score to fall to 50.8.

However, the final results of the HSBC/Markit Economics PMI survey painted a pessimistic picture of the country's manufacturing industry. It showed manufacturing activity deteriorating for a fifth consecutive month.

Meanwhile, Eurozone finance ministers on Friday decided to raise the combined size of the region's bailout funds to prevent the possible spillover of the debt crisis in some member states. The ceiling for lending by the European Stability Mechanism and European Financial Stability Facility will be increased to 700 billion euros, the Eurogroup, which represents euro area finance ministers, said.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.49 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is falling 0.13 percent.

The FTSE 100 index is currently adding 0.48 percent.

Chipmaker Arm Holdings is rising 1.6 percent. Publishing group Pearson is advancing 1.9 percent. Weir Group is rising 1.8 percent.

Goals Soccer Centres is climbing nearly 14 percent after it confirmed that it received a preliminary approach from Canada's Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan for the company.

Barclays is falling 1.9 percent and HSBC is losing 1.7 percent. Lloyds is losing 2.4 percent.

Man Group is declining 1.8 percent and Schroeders is dropping 1.7 percent.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is adding 0.28 percent. The French CAC 40 is losing 0.32 percent and Switzerland's SMI is falling 0.12 percent.

In economic news, unemployment rate in the Eurozone rose to a new record high in February, data from Eurostat showed. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 10.8 percent from 10.7 percent in January. The outcome was in line with economists' forecast. Separate data from Markit Economics confirmed that Eurozone's manufacturing downturn worsened as initially estimated in March.

German manufacturing sector's contraction in March was less severe than estimated earlier, detailed results of a survey by Markit Economics showed. However, the French manufacturing activity contracted more than initially estimated in March, marking the weakest level since June 2009.

A survey by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply showed that activity in the British manufacturing sector increased to the highest level in ten months in March.

Across Asia/Pacific, major markets had a mixed outing. Australia's All Ordinaries slipped 0.08 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 0.16 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.26 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a marginally higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages ended the session mixed, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq posting a modest loss. While the Nasdaq edged down 0.1 percent, the Dow rose 0.5 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.4 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for May delivery is losing $0.60 to $102.42 per barrel and gold is falling $4.4 to $1667.5 a troy ounce.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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