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Europe Markets End Higher

European stock markets finished higher on Thursday, as oil prices fell on word of a call for ceasefire in Najaf, Iraq. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index added 34.3 points, or 0.78%, to end at 4,445.9, as Brent crude oil prices fell.

The pound sterling was a touch weaker, at $1.793, as the British Banking Association says that lending slowed in July as a result of higher interest rates.

Germany's DAX index ended up 43.4 points, or 1.15%, to 3,832.28. The Business Confidence index fell for the third straight month, with respondents worried that high oil prices could slow economic recovery attempts, reports S&P MarketScope. In Paris, the CAC 40 index gained 34.58 points, or 0.96%, to 3,629.84.

Asian markets finished around the unchanged levels on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 index ended down 0.69 point, to close at 11,129.33. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index slipped 8.64 points, or 0.07%, to close at 12,784.39.

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