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French Market Declines

The French market declined on Thursday, erasing early gains, after manufacturing production in the U.K. fell for a second month and Germany's industrial production dropped more than expected in February. The Asian markets were mixed, while the U.S. index futures are lower.

France raised 8.439 billion euros from the medium-to-long term bond auction, almost near the top end of the target range. The debt management agency AFT sold 1.31 billion euros five-year OAT at a yield of 1.96 percent. The borrowing cost rose slightly from 1.91 percent at the prior auction on March 1.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 1.13 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is dropping 0.65 percent.

The CAC 40 index is losing 0.66 percent.

Alcatel Lucent is declining 3.5 percent. Veolia Environnement is losing 2.7 percent after Deutsche Bank cut the stock to "Sell" from "Hold."

Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas are declining between 3.5 percent and 2.60 percent.

Peugeot is dropping 1.9 percent. Renault is down 0.4 percent.

Sanofi is flat. The drugmaker, along with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., said that the Biologics License Application for the investigational agent Zaltrap (aflibercept) concentrate for solution has been granted priority review by the Food and Drug Administration

LVMH, EADS, STMicroelectronics and Technip are in positive territory.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is losing 1.09 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is falling 0.54 percent. Switzerland's SMI is losing 0.48 percent.

In economic news, Germany's industrial production declined more than expected in February, data from the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology showed. Industrial output dropped 1.3 percent in February from a month ago, offsetting January's 1.2 percent growth. Economists had expected a 0.5 percent decrease.

UK manufacturing production in February fell 1 percent from a month earlier, while expectations were for a 0.1 percent increase, data from the Office for National Statistics showed. However, industrial production increased 0.4 percent month-on-month, in line with economists' expectations.

The Bank of England is set to announce its monetary policy decision at 7.00 am ET. Policymakers are likely to maintain its 325 billion pounds bond purchases. The central bank is also seen holding its 0.050 percent record low interest rate.

Across Asia/Pacific, Australia's All Ordinaries lost 0.38 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.95 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 retreated 0.53 percent. However, China's Shanghai Composite Index, which opened after a three-day break, climbed 1.74 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a lower open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the Dow fell 1 percent, the Nasdaq plunged 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 1 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for May delivery is gaining $0.33 to $101.80 per barrel and June gold is rising $8.9 to $1623 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

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