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French Market Rises

4/20/2012 6:44 AM ET

The French market is higher in afternoon trading Friday, after German business sentiment showed a surprise improvement. The Asian markets ended mostly up and the U.S. index futures point to a higher open.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is climbing 1.26 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.69 percent.

The CAC 40 index is currently advancing 0.75 percent.

Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole are climbing between 4.5 percent and 3.7 percent.

Suez Environnement's first-quarter revenues grew 2.2 percent, amid a difficult economic environment in Europe. The stock is gaining 1.4 percent.

Schneider Electric is losing 0.2 percent. The company reported more than 9 percent growth in first-quarter sales.

Accor is losing 3.5 percent. Peugeot and Renault are falling 2.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is rising 0.92 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is advancing 0.32 percent. Switzerland's SMI is gaining 0.34 percent.

In economic news, Germany's producer price inflation accelerated unexpectedly in March on higher energy prices, data from the Federal Statistical Office showed today. Producer price inflation rose to 3.3 percent on a yearly basis from 3.2 percent in February.

German business sentiment improved unexpectedly in April, the Munich-based Ifo institute reportedly said. The business climate index rose to 109.9 in April from 109.8 in March. Economists were forecasting the reading to drop to 109.5.

U.K. retail sales logged a better-than-expected expansion in March, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Friday.

Across Asia/Pacific, Australia's All Ordinaries and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.07 percent each. China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.19 percent while Japan's Nikkei 225 retreated 0.28 percent.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the Dow dropped half a percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for May delivery is adding $0.68 to $102.95 per barrel while June gold is rising $2.5 at $1643.9 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

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