The European markets are higher on Friday, following firm cues from Asia and a strong rally in the U.S. overnight, after a report in The Wall Street Journal said that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would act soon to quell investor fear on stimulus tapering.
Bernanke is scheduled to appear on Capitol Hill on July 17 and 18 to deliver his semi-annual 'Humphrey Hawkins' testimony. This will give the Fed Chief another chance to introduce some clarity on the issue of stimulus.
Bernanke is likely to confirm that the Fed expects a considerable amount of time between ending the bond-buying program and raising short-term rates, the report added.
Closer home, Eurozone's annual inflation accelerated in May as initially estimated, final data released by statistical office Eurostat showed. Meanwhile, employment fell notably in the first quarter.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.40 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is falling 0.02 percent.
The German DAX is gaining 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 is adding 0.3 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 and Switzerland's SMI are modestly higher.
In Frankfurt, Lanxess is gaining 3.2 percent after Kepler raised the stock to ''Buy'' from ''Hold.''
ThyssenKrupp is rising 1.8 percent. Deutsche Boerse is gaining 1.6 percent and Deutsche is up 1.4 percent.
Hochtief is gaining 5.6 percent after announcing a share buyback.
Gerry Weber is climbing 5.1 percent. The fashion and lifestyle firm reported quarterly results.
Rhoen-Klinikum is flat after the hospital operator was raised to ''Neutral'' from ''Underweight'' at JPMorgan.
Fresenius and Fresenius Medical Care are declining 2 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
In Paris, Michelin is gaining 3.7 percent after demand for tires increased in Brazil last month. Vallourec and Renault are up above 2 percent.
Lenders Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas are firmly in the green.
Among notable losers are Vivendi, Alstom, Essilor and Danone.
In London, Smith & Nephew is losing 1.2 percent and Bunzl is falling 1.1 percent.
Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC Holdings are down 1 percent each. Deutsche Bank cut RBS to ''Sell'' from ''Hold.''
Petrofac is gaining 3.3 percent and British Land is adding 2.7 percent.
Glencore Xstrata is gaining 2.6 percent after entering $17.34 billion revolving credit facilities.
Polar Capital is gaining 6.7 percent after full year profit rose.
Yara, which postponed a plant expansion, is gaining 1.7 percent in Oslo.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is gaining 1.7 percent in Brussels. JPMorgan reinitiated the stock with an ''Overweight'' rating.
Holcim is losing 1.5 percent in Zurich on a negative broker recommendation.
Across Asia/Pacific, markets ended higher. Australia's All Ordinaries and Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.9 percent each. China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent.
In the U.S., futures point to a mixed open on Wall Street, ahead of economic reports on producer prices, industrial production and consumer sentiment.
In the previous session, stocks gained ground, as a pair of upbeat reports on first-time claims for unemployment benefits and retail sales helped investors shrug off sharp losses elsewhere in Asia. The Dow rose 1.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.3 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.5 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for July delivery is adding $0.34 to $97.03 per barrel and August gold is rising $1.6 to $1379.4 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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