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Europe Stocks End Higher

European stock markets finished higher on Thursday, as China decided to revalue the yuan against the dollar for the first time in a decade. The markets were also being helped by lower oil prices.

London's FTSE 100 index closed up 6.4 points, or 0.12%, to 5,221.6 despite new bombings at London subways. The market got boost a from a report U.K. June retail sales rose 1.3%, much more than the 0.2% that was expected.

Among stocks on the move, Rio Tinto rose after Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch raised their 2005 earnings estimates for the company. Colt Telecom Group rose after company said its second-quarter loss shrank from a year ago. Corus Group rose after Goldman Sachs said European steel stocks may rise as much as 10% on average in the fourth quarter.

Germany's DAX index climbed 45.37 points, or 0.95%, to 4,829.87.

E.ON rose as its Powergen unit raised natural gas and electricity prices for most of its residential clients. SAP fell as company's second-quarter earnings missed analysts' forecast. Comdirect rose as second-quarter earnings were not as bad as expected. Merck KgaA fell on lower earnings.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index rose 7.27 points, or 0.16%, to 4,425.66, finishing off its highs on news of the London bombings

Essilor rose to a record high after reporting improved first half earnings. Akka rose after the company reported second-quarter sales rose 45%. Societe Bic SA fell even though the company reported higher sales.

Asian markets closed mixed on Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei index closed down marginally at 11,786.73,as banking shares fell and exporters rose.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 17.44 points, or 0.12%, to 14,620.14. Gains in oil producer CNOOC and China Mobile contributed to the Hang Seng's modest rise, reports Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

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