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French Market Falls

The French market is in negative territory in afternoon trading Thursday after Asian markets rose on encouraging remarks from the Federal Reserve's Beige Book. Some broker commendations as well as disappointing bond sale results from Italy affected sentiment.

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book said Wednesday that the U.S. economic recovery proceeded at a modest pace in recent months, as manufacturers expressed optimism despite concerns about higher energy prices. Consumer spending was "encouraging" across a number of the Fed's twelve districts.

Meanwhile, the editorial to the European Central Bank's monthly bulletin showed that Eurozone inflation is expected to stay above 2 percent in 2012, with upside risks prevailing. Over the policy-relevant horizon, the ECB forecasts price developments to remain in line with price stability.

While a gradual economic recovery is expected in the course of the year, the outlook remains subject to downside risks, the bank said.

Citigroup lowered global financial equities to "Neutral" and cut global telecom equities to "Underweight." The brokerage raised global industrial equities to "Overweight."

The Italian 3-year bond yield increased, while it missed the maximum target set for the issue.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is falling 0.37 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is sliding 0.21 percent.

The CAC 40 index is currently falling 0.20 percent.

Peugeot is declining 4.7 percent and Renault is losing 0.6 percent.

Societe Generale is declining 2.7 percent and Credit Agricole is losing 2.3 percent. BNP Paribas is falling 0.7 percent.

Carrefour is losing 0.4 percent. The grocery retailer reported a marginal rise in sales for the first quarter, helped by overall growth in emerging markets and a positive calendar effect in most geographies. Berenberg cut the stock to "Sell" from "Hold."

France Telecom is falling 2.65 percent.

Schneider Electric is gaining 1.6 percent, Technip is rising 1.5 percent and Accor is advancing 1.2 percent.

Danone is up 0.3 percent. Societe Generale raised the stock to "Buy" from "Hold."

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is adding 0.62 percent and Switzerland's SMI is rising 0.33 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 is falling 0.08 percent.

In economic news, industrial production in the euro area unexpectedly increased in February, helped by a marked increase in energy production, data released by statistical office Eurostat revealed. Industrial production moved up 0.5 percent on a monthly basis in February, after remaining flat in the previous month. Economists were looking for a 0.2 percent decrease.

Across Asia/Pacific, Australia's All Ordinaries gained 0.79 percent, China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.82 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.93 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.70 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the markets benefited from a positive reaction to aluminum giant Alcoa's quarterly results. The Dow climbed 0.7 percent, the Nasdaq rose 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 advanced 0.7 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for May delivery is adding $0.51 to $103.21 per barrel and June gold is sliding $2.6 to $1657.7 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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