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European Markets Firmly In Positive Territory

The European markets are firmly in positive territory on Tuesday, amid hopes that central bankers globally will take actions for the continuation of stimulus measures to spur growth. Monday, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said the central bank should continue to buy bonds until the unemployment stays stubbornly high.

Retail sales in the Eurozone increased more than economists expected in January, recovering from the previous month's decrease. Retail sales volume increased 1.2 percent on a monthly basis in January, reversing the previous month's 0.8 percent decrease, Eurostat said.

China kept its growth target for the year unchanged at 7.5 percent, reflecting the country's intention to maintain more moderate growth rather than the double-digit growth rates seen in the past decade, as part of government efforts to overhaul its growth model and restructure the economy.

At the same time, the government slashed the inflation target to 3.5 percent from the previous year's 4 percent, pledging to rein in price pressures more decisively. The new figures were published in a government work report prepared by outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao for the country's annual parliament meetings that began Tuesday. China's communist party chief Xi Jinping will officially assume the title of President during the meeting.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 1.30 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 1.06 percent.

The German DAX, the French CAC 40 and Switzerland's SMI are notably higher, while the UK's FTSE 100 is moderately rising.

In Frankfurt, Utility RWE reported lower profit for the year, and added that it is considering disposing off of all its shares in RWE Dea AG, as its Executive Board decided to withdraw from the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. The stock is gaining 3.5 percent.

Deutsche Post is gaining 3.4 percent after reporting a surge in fourth-quarter profit.

Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW are advancing between 3 percent and 2.4 percent.

ThyssenKrupp is gaining 2.2 percent. Merrill Lynch raised the stock to ''Neutral'' from ''Underperform.''

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are gaining 2.1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Exane BNP raised Deutsche Bank to ''Outperform'' from ''Neutral.''

Fresenius is losing moderately. Barclays reduced its rating on the stock.

Kabel Deutschland was raised to ''Hold'' from ''Sell.'' The stock is adding 1.6 percent.

In Paris, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas are gaining between 3.4 percent and 2 percent.

Builder Bouygues is adding 3.1 percent and tire firm Michelin is adding 2.9 percent.

After reporting higher annual profit, Serco Group is gaining over 11 percent in London.

John Wood Group, which reported full year results, is gaining 5.5 percent.

Standard Chartered is gaining 2.8 percent. The lender posted a $6.9 billion profit before tax for 2012, citing rapid growth across many of its markets.

Meggitt, which reported higher profit and hiked its dividend, is up 3.4 percent.

Glencore is rising 2.4 percent. The commodities trader reported a sharp decline in annual profit. Xstrata is up 3 percent, despite annual profit drop.

Across Asia/Pacific, major markets closed in positive territory. Australia's All Ordinaries rose 1.2 percent and China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.1 percent while Japan's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.3 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, stocks rebounded from early losses to finish the session with modest gains. The Dow rose 0.3 percent, the Nasdaq advanced 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.5 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is adding $0.19 to $90.31 per barrel and April gold is rising $9.6 to $1582.0 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

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