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Europe Stocks End Higher

European stock markets finished higher Wednesday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index closed up 34.70 points, or 0.80%, to 4,368.80 as U.S. corporate earnings, firm economic data, stronger equities helped lift the index. London traders were also encouraged by U.K. unemployment claims falling for the fourth consecutive month.

Germany's DAX index rose 32.45 points, or 0.92%, to 3,570.58 amid news that parliament there may back tax cuts, welfare curbs to bolster the economy. The government revised downward growth forecasts for this year and next.

In Paris, the CAC 40 finished higher by 30.08 points, or 0.90%, to 3,374.98.

Asian stocks finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 66.48 points, or 0.61%, to finish at 10,899.95, weighed by profit taking after a 16-month high the previous session. Renewed concerns about the dollar-yen ratio, on the back of President Bush's interview with Asian press, were also negative for Japanese stocks. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index surged 200.16 points, or 1.69%, to 12,056.18.

Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX added 33.79 points, or 0.44%, to 7,783.21.

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