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European Stocks Higher At Mid-day After Bond Auctions

European shares rose on Thursday after France and Spain both held successful bond auctions. While France sold a total of EUR7.973 billion of bonds at the top end of targeted range, Spain managed to sell EUR 2.54 billion in 2 and 10-year bonds, just above the original EUR 2.5 billion target at higher yields, reports suggest.

The bid-to-cover ratio rose to 2.42 from 2.17 in the prior auction, while the 10-year benchmark yield rose to 5.74 percent from 5.40 percent earlier. The euro rebounded against the dollar immediately after the Spanish bond auction results.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is moving up 0.33 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is up 0.55 percent. Around Europe, the German DAX is rising 0.43 percent, France's CAC 40 is gaining 0.48 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 is up 0.6 percent and Switzerland's SMI is moving up 0.52 percent.

In stock-specific action, Akzo Nobel NV, a world leader in paints, is rising over a percent after it posted first-quarter net income from continuing operations of 70 million euros, lower than last year's 132 million euros, due to higher incidental charges.

German auto giant Volkswagen AG is down 1.1 percent. Its Audi unit said its board of management and supervisory board has approved plans to build a North American plant in Mexico.

Shares of Publicis Groupe SA are tumbling 3.8 percent in Paris after the French advertising and communications company said it expects growth to slow down in the second quarter.

Likewise, media and telecom group Vivendi SA is losing a percent on saying that it expects 2012 revenue growth to be in the mid 30's at constant currency.

Cable & Wireless Worldwide Plc is plunging over 18 percent in London after Tata Communications confirmed that it does not intend to make an offer for the U.K.-based telecom company.

Elsewhere, Asian markets ended on a mixed note, as a weak lead from Wall Street following lackluster results from Intel and IBM and caution ahead of the Spanish government bond auction kept investors at bay.

Commodities rebounded and trading in the Dow futures point to a firm start on Wall Street ahead of U.S. data on jobless claims, existing home sales and a regional manufacturing survey.

On the macroeconomic front, Italian industrial orders declined more than expected by economists in February, data from the statistical office Istat showed today. New orders dropped 13.2 percent on an unadjusted year-over-year basis. The decline was worse than expectations for a 6.2 percent dip.

Separately, the German economy is expected to grow at a slightly faster pace than estimated in 2012, as the risks surrounding the global economy receded, the country's leading economic research institutes said in a joint report published today. The gross domestic product is forecast to rise 0.9 percent this year, slightly faster than the previously projected 0.8 percent growth. For 2013, the institutes forecast 2 percent growth.

by RTT Staff Writer

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