The European markets are moderately higher in afternoon trading Wednesday, even as concerns remained about the European summit starting Thursday, with German chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly stating that she does not see total liability among eurozone member states to share the region's debt burden "as long as I live."
China's official news agency Xinhua reported that the Dragon Nation seeks to promote the offshore yuan market in Hong Kong and improve overseas investment as part of a package announced to boost economic relations. The news provided some relief to global investors.
Elsewhere, the Bank of Spain said in its monthly bulletin that Spain's recession would intensify in the second quarter, suggesting that the activity has continued declining at a faster rate.
Meanwhile, Italy raised the targeted amount at a debt auction, but borrowing costs continued to rise. The Italian Treasury sold 9 billion euros of 6-month bills, in line with the target set for the sale. The yield on the 6-month paper rose to 2.957 percent from 2.104 percent in the previous auction on May 29.
European Union authorities on Tuesday unveiled plans for securing the stability of the union, ahead of the meeting beginning tomorrow. The proposals were outlined in a report, which does not set a time frame for implementing the proposed measures. Nevertheless, it is expected that a detailed action plan for stabilizing the bloc's economy will be charted out by the end of the year.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is advancing 0.66 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.62 percent.
The German DAX is adding 0.35 percent and the French CAC 40 is gaining 0.49 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 is rising 0.59 percent and Switzerland's SMI is advancing 0.39 percent.
In Frankfurt, K+S is gaining 2.7 percent after Merrill Lynch raised the stock to "Buy" from "Underperform" and added it to Europe 1 List.
E.ON is adding 1.3 percent and RWE is up 0.3 percent. HSBC raised E.ON to "Overweight" from "Neutral."
Deutsche Bank is gaining 0.5 percent while Commerzbank is falling 0.5 percent.
Several brokerages lowered their ratings on Infineon. The stock is falling 2.3 percent.
ThyssenKrupp is declining 2.5 percent and Salzgitter is declining 6.8 percent.
Carmakers BMW and Volkswagen are moderately lower while Daimler is declining 1.3 percent.
In Paris, Societe Generale is gaining 1.5 percent. BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole are advancing 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
Renault is down around 1 percent while Peugeot is losing 0.1 percent.
In London, Banks are broadly higher. Standard Chartered is adding 1.4 percent. The Asia-focused lender said it expects pre-tax profit to grow at a high single-digit rate in the first half, compared to a double-digit growth it saw last year. The company also confirmed its outlook for the full year.
Northgate reported a higher profit for the fiscal year 2012 and re-introduced dividend payments. The vehicle rental firm's shares are surging nearly 11 percent.
Safestore Holdings, which slipped to a loss in the first half of the year, is declining 9.3 percent.
Posing a last-minute threat to the impending merger between Glencore International and Xstrata, Qatar Holding LLC - Xstrata's second largest shareholder - has urged the commodity trader to sweeten its bid terms. Glencore is falling 3.6 percent and Xstrata is losing 1.4 percent.
Evraz is declining 6.6 percent. Polymetal International is falling 2.9 percent.
Roche said Tuesday that it would close its site in Nutley, New Jersey, and consolidate R&D activities in Switzerland and Germany. The closure of the site in New Jersey, the company's former U.S. headquarters, will result in a reduction of 1,000 jobs. The stock is up 0.7 percent in Zurich.
Banca Popolare di Milano is up 1.4 percent in Milan.
In economic news, import price inflation in Germany eased to 2.2 percent in May from 2.3 percent in April, the Federal Statistical Office said. The import price index, excluding crude oil and mineral oil products, was 1.4 percent above the level of a year earlier.
Across Asia/Pacific, markets closed mostly higher. Australia's All Ordinaries added 0.7 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed around 1 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.8 percent. However, China's Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.2 percent.
In the U.S., futures point to a slightly higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages gave back some ground going into the close but remained in positive territory. The Dow rose 0.3 percent, the Nasdaq advanced 0.6 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.5 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for August delivery is losing $0.04 at $79.32 per barrel and August gold is falling $5.5 at $1569.4 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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