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European Stocks Mixed At Midday


European stocks are turning in a mixed performance after data showed Eurozone's industrial production decreased at a slower pace in December. Industrial production decreased 2.4 percent on an annual basis in the month following the previous month's 4 percent fall, Eurostat said. Economists had forecast a more modest decline of 2.3 percent.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of Eurozone bluechip stocks is declining 0.15 percent and the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is moving down 0.2 percent. Around Europe, France's CAC 40 is losing 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 is declining 0.4 percent, while the German DAX is little changed and Switzerland's SMI is gaining 0.4 percent.

German Builder Hochtief is climbing 6.6 percent after its Australian unit Leighton Holdings returned to profitability following a couple of disastrous years of losses.

France-based Societe Generale SA is tumbling 3.5 percent in Paris after the French lender reported a loss for the fourth quarter compared to a profit last year, weighed down by one-off charges.

Rio Tinto Plc is gaining 1.3 percent after the mining giant announced it will continue operating Gove alumina refinery as the gas to Gove project progresses.

Dutch financial services company ING Group N.V. is declining 1.6 percent after it reported a 20.9 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, benefited by gains on divestment of ING direct Canada and Insurance Malaysia.

Elsewhere, Asian stocks rose broadly, with a firmer yen boosting South Korean exporters while positive corporate earnings lifted Australian shares to their highest level in nearly four-and-a-half years. Japan's Nikkei index lost a percent, with some weak earnings reports and a stronger yen weighing on investor sentiment.

The U.S. index futures point to a higher start on Wall Street as investors await data on retail sales, import and export prices, and business inventories.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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