The French 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 0.68 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.67 percent.
The CAC 40 index is currently adding 0.59 percent.
France Telecom is gaining 3.1 percent. Deutsche Bank raised the stock to "Hold" from "Sell."
Exane BNP raised Vivendi to "Neutral" from "Underperform." The stock is gaining 2.4 percent.
Veolia Environnement, Valourec, LVMH, Alstom and PPR are making notable advances.
Carrefour was raised to "Neutral" from "Sell" at Citigroup. The shares are moderately higher.
Peugeot is plunging 8.1 percent and Renault is declining 2.6 percent.
Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are moderately lower.
Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is adding 0.99 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is rising 0.75 percent. Switzerland's SMI is up 0.34 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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