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German Market Moderately Higher

4/20/2012 6:28 AM ET

The German market is moderately higher in afternoon trading Friday, after a surprise improvement in business sentiment. The Asian markets ended mostly up and the U.S. index futures point to a higher open.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is climbing 1.23 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.72 percent.

The DAX index is currently adding 0.59 percent.

Deutsche Bank is rising 1.6 percent and Commerzbank is rising 1 percent.

Merck, which would abstain from major takeovers until the end of next year to focus on cost reduction and job cuts, is climbing 2.1 percent.

RWE is declining 6 percent, thus leading the losers.

Infineon Technologies is falling 2.3 percent.

Volkswagen is down 2.2 percent, BMW is marginally lower while Daimler is modestly up.

MAN is down 0.3 percent.

Hochtief is declining 2.4 percent. Berenberg initiated the stock with a "Hold" rating.

GSW Immobilien is declining about 1 percent. HSBC cut the stock to "Neutral" from "Overweight."

Elsewhere in Europe, the French CAC 40 is rising 0.27 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is advancing 0.09 percent. Switzerland's SMI is gaining 0.21 percent.

In economic news, Germany's producer price inflation accelerated unexpectedly in March on higher energy prices, data from the Federal Statistical Office showed today. Producer price inflation rose to 3.3 percent on a yearly basis from 3.2 percent in February.

German business sentiment improved unexpectedly in April, the Munich-based Ifo institute reportedly said. The business climate index rose to 109.9 in April from 109.8 in March. Economists were forecasting the reading to drop to 109.5.

U.K. retail sales logged a better-than-expected expansion in March, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Friday.

Across Asia/Pacific, Australia's All Ordinaries and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.07 percent each. China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.19 percent while Japan's Nikkei 225 retreated 0.28 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, stocks drifted lower, as discouraging economic data on initial jobless claims, existing home sales and regional manufacturing activity overshadowed better than expected first-quarter earnings from financial giants Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. The Dow dropped half a percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for May delivery is adding $0.68 to $102.95 per barrel while June gold is rising $2.5 at $1643.9 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

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