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U.S. Data Lifts Europe Stocks

European markets jumped initially, but finished with more modest gains, after the better-than-projected preliminary U.S. GDP number. The indexes were helped by gains in shares of France's Alcatel and Vivendi. In London, the FTSE 100 index ended higher by 36.10 points, or 0.72%, to 5,039.70. ignoring a survey that showed British consumer confidence slumped.

The Paris CAC 40 index finished up 89.36 points, or 2.10%, to 4,341.29. In Germany, the DAX index inched up 15.15 points, or 0.33%, to 4,559.13. In Euroland, European Central Bank Chairman Essing says the bank won't neglect its priority of stablize prices. The ECB is under tremendous pressure to cut rates soon to bolster slumping economies. Essing says he sees good reasons for inflation of below 2%.

Asia markets finished lower. Japan's Nikkei dropped 146.48, or 1.39%, to 10,366.34, finishing down for the fourth straight session. Investors in Japan fretted over profit cautions from high-tech manufacturers and the recent slide on Wall Street. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index finished near breakeven, down 2.46 points, or 0.02%, to 10,073.97.

Canada's benchmark TSE 300 spent the day in positive territory and closed up 60.3 points to 6885.7. However, after a two-day, 180-point drop, 63 points is not a large amount (i.e. not enough to repair the damage). Bearish reversal in the Dow Jones industrial inded was another red flag. Wednesday's U.S. gross-domestic products data was less weak than expected. Traders will turn to Friday's U.S. employment report.

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