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UK Market Rises

4/20/2012 7:08 AM ET

The UK market is in positive territory in afternoon trading Friday, after German business sentiment showed a surprise improvement. 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 1.18 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.70 percent.

The FTSE 100 index is currently adding 0.32 percent.

Barclays is gaining 1.7 percent and Lloyds is climbing 2.9 percent.

BHP Billiton and Kazakhmys are rising 1.4 percent each.

IMI is rising 1.6 percent after reporting first-half results in line with expectations.

Man Group is climbing 4 percent.

BP is losing 1.3 percent and Royal Dutch Shell is losing 1.1 percent.

Gambling company William Hill said first-quarter sales and operating profit increased from last year. The stock is up 3 percent.

SuperGroup shares are plunging nearly 38 percent after the company issued yet another profit warning.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is rising 1.08 percent and the French CAC 40 is advancing 0.65 percent. Switzerland's SMI is gaining 0.32 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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