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UK Market Gains

The UK market rose on Thursday, ahead of the key rate decision from the European Central bank. Asian markets were mostly weak after economic data from the U.S. and Europe overnight dampened sentiment.

Spain raised 2.52 billion euros from medium-term debt auction, exceeding the 2.5 billion euros maximum target. However, yields increased from the prior issue.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is advancing 1.31 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is rising 0.77 percent.

The FTSE 100 index is currently rising 0.58 percent.

Smith & Nephew is climbing 3.5 percent. The company posted a higher profit for the first quarter and confirmed its full-year forecast of achieving modest increase in trading profit margin.

Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are adding about 1 percent each.

Antofagasta is declining 4.1 percent. The company reported a 12.9 percent sequential decrease in first-quarter copper production.

Randgold is falling 1.7 percent. The gold miner posted a surge in profit for its first quarter, despite the challenges presented by a coup in Mali.

BG Group is falling 2.7 percent. The company reported higher earnings for the first quarter and announced a memorandum of understanding with Cosan S.A. Indústria e Comércio for the sale of its 60.1 percent holding in Comgás, Brazil's largest gas distribution company, for around $1.8 billion.

Legal & General is dropping 2.5 percent. Aviva is up 1 percent.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is climbing about 1.13 percent and the French CAC 40 is adding 1.31 percent. Switzerland's SMI is rising 0.53 percent.

In economic news, Eurozone's producer prices increased less than forecast by economists in March, data from Eurostat showed.

At 7.45 am ET, the European Central Bank is slated to announce its rate decision. The central bank is set to hold fire at the policy meeting to be held in Barcelona. The Governing Council led by ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to maintain the main refi rate at a record low 1 percent.

Across Asia/Pacific, Australia's All Ordinaries slipped 0.23 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 0.28 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index managed to end in positive territory by edging up 0.07 percent on hopes of government measures to stem economic slowdown. The Japanese market is closed for a public holiday.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, stocks turned mixed over the course of the trading day after traders shrugged off a disappointing private sector jobs report. While the Nasdaq rose 0.3 percent, the Dow edged down 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 dipped 0.3 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for June delivery is sliding $0.36 to $104.86 per barrel and June gold is falling $8.4 to $1645.6 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

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