The German market is moderately higher in afternoon trading Friday, after China logged the weakest growth rate since the first quarter of 2009, although it almost matched economists' forecast, raising hopes of policy easing.
China's gross domestic product expanded 7.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said. This was weaker than the 8.1 percent growth recorded in the first quarter but almost matched economists' forecast of 7.7 percent rise.
Italy, which earlier suffered a ratings downgrade, raised the maximum target from the sale of its new 3-year bond at a lower yield in an auction. The Italian treasury reportedly raised 3.5 billion euros of its July 2015 bond, which was at the top end of the 2.5 billion euros to 3.5 billion euros target.
The yield on the bond declined to 4.65 percent from 5.30 percent in the previous sale of a security with similar maturity on June 14.
Earlier, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Italy's credit rating by two notches, citing contagion risk from Greece and Spain, higher funding costs and a deteriorating economic outlook. Italy's government bond rating was cut to Baa2 from A3. The agency maintained the 'negative' outlook on the rating, citing "substantial" risks to implementing the planned fiscal reforms.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.38 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.50 percent.
After opening higher, the DAX index is currently rising 0.81 percent.
Deutsche Telekom is climbing 2.9 percent. Credit Suisse raised the stock to "Neutral" from "Underperform."
Basf is gaining 1.2 percent and Bayer is adding 0.8 percent.
Delticom is climbing 5.6 percent after HSBC upgraded the stock.
Deutsche Bank is losing 0.7 percent and Commerzbank is falling 0.2 percent.
Volkswagen is sliding 0.7 percent. The carmaker reported a 8.9 percent growth in vehicle deliveries for the first half of 2012, but added that the second half would be altogether more challenging. BMW is modestly down and Daimler is flat.
Elsewhere in Europe, the French CAC 40 is adding 0.44 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is rising 0.63 percent. Switzerland's SMI is up 0.24 percent.
Across Asia/Pacific, markets mostly ended in the green after the data out of China. Australia's All Ordinaries gained 0.30 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 and China's Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.05 percent and 0.02 percent, respectively.
In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, concerns about the outlook for the economy continued to weigh on the markets. The Dow slipped 0.3 percent, the Nasdaq fell 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.5 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for August delivery is adding $0.66 to $86.74 per barrel and August gold is gaining $15.6 to $1580.9 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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