The European markets are in positive territory in afternoon trading Monday, as hopes remained that policy makers will act decisively to resolve the region's debt crisis. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said last week that the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. Sentiment was also influenced by corporate earnings news.
Italy's borrowing costs for ten-year funds fell below 6 percent at a debt auction as investors look forward to some crucial moves from the European Central Bank, which holds its rate-setting session later in the week. The Italian Treasury sold a total 5.48 billion euros bonds maturing in 2015, 2017 and 2022, against a maximum target of 5.5 billion euros.
Meanwhile, Spanish economic output sank further in the second quarter, deepening the recession in the euro area's fourth largest economy. The gross domestic product fell 0.4 percent in the second quarter of 2012 after a 0.3 percent decline each in the first quarter of 2012 and in the fourth quarter of 2011.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have vowed to defend the euro amid escalating tensions in Eurozone, close on the heels of a similar agreement between Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
During a telephone conversation on Sunday, Merkel and Monti agreed that both the countries "will do everything possible to protect the euro area," reports said.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 1.00 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is rising 0.91 percent.
The German DAX is adding 0.76 percent and the French CAC 40 is gaining 0.58 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 is rising 0.58 percent and Switzerland's SMI is rising 0.40 percent.
In Frankfurt, Lufthansa is climbing 2.2 percent, followed by Metro, which is up 1.5 percent.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are moderately higher.
Societe Generale cut Henkel to "Hold" from "Buy." The stock is falling 1.2 percent.
Infineon Technologies is falling 2.1 percent.
S&P Equity raised Rhoen-Klinikum to "Hold" from "Strong Sell." The shares are gaining 1.1 percent.
In Paris, Credit Agricole is surging 5.9 percent. BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are advancing 3.7 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
Steel giant ArcelorMittal is adding 3.7 percent. Carmaker Peugeot is rising 2.5 percent while Renault is moderately lower.
S&P Equity lowered its rating on Saint Gobain. Shares are moderately up.
Air France-KLM is surging over 14 percent. The company reported a sharply wider second-quarter loss, but added that it expects to benefit from the first positive effects of its cost-savings program in the second half of the year.
JC Decaux is declining over 11 percent after reporting first-half results.
Air Liquide is falling 1.4 percent. The industrial gas maker reported a 5 percent growth in profit for the first half of the year, adding that it continues to aim for growth in net profit in 2012, assuming that there is no major economic downturn.
HSBC is adding around 1 percent after reporting first-half results. Barclays is gaining 2.8 percent after Societe Generale raised its rating on the stock. Royal Bank of Scotland is advancing about 2 percent.
Evraz is surging 3.9 percent and Weir Group is adding 3.7 percent.
Ryanair is up half a percent after the low-cost airline reported over 29 percent drop in profit for the first quarter, as higher fuel costs more than offset an 11 percent rise in revenues. The company said its outlook remains cautious for the year, while remaining unchanged.
Pearson, which reported results last week, is falling 2.8 percent.
Reckitt Benckiser is falling 0.8 percent. The firm reported a marginal decline in its second-quarter revenue, but said it is confident of achieving its full-year 2012 target of 200 basis points above its market growth rate of 1 to 2 percent.
TNT Express, which reported higher profit in the second quarter, is up 0.4 percent.
In economic news, German wholesale trade turnover rebounded in June after declining for the past three months, the Federal Statistical Office said. Wholesale sales increased 4 percent year-on-year in June following a 2.8 percent fall in May.
Across Asia/Pacific, most major markets ended higher. Australia's All Ordinaries climbed 0.77 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.6 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.80 percent. However, China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9 percent amid worries of growth cooling off.
In the U.S., futures point to a lower open on Wall Street. In the previous session, markets benefited from some relatively upbeat U.S. economic data as well as news out of Europe. The Dow jumped 1.5 percent, the Nasdaq soared 2.2 percent and the S&P 500 spiked up 1.9 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for September delivery is adding $0.08 to $90.21 per barrel and gold for August delivery is rising $0.2 to $1618.2 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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