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European Stocks Edged Higher

European stock markets finished higher on Monday.

In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index gained 8.5 points to 5,280.8 even though U.K. July manufacturing PMI unexpectedly fell to 49.2 from 49.6. The news raised speculation that the Bank of England will lower rates at Thursday's meeting.

Among stocks on the move, BPB rose on rumors of a fresh takeover bid. Empire Online rose on strong first half profits. Shell rose on higher Brent crude oil prices. HSBC rose as first half profits beat estimates. Amvescap rose on Sunday Telegraph report that CI Fund Management has appointed investment banking and legal advisers to prepare a bid for the owner of the Aim mutual funds.

In Germany, the DAX Index managed to gain 4.35 points to 4,890.85 on a report Eurozone July manufacturing PMI rose to better than expected 50.8 level from 49.9. But the rally was blunted by higher oil prices.

DaimlerChrysler rose as Goldman Sachs raised their estimate for the carmaker's 2005 per share earnings by 10%. Volkswagen fell after Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein cut the share recommendation of automaker to hold from buy. Continental rose to a 13-year high before posting earnings tomorrow. Hugo Boss fell after Deutsche Bank lowered its rating on stock to hold from buy. Init rose after posting strong second-quarter earnings. Mensch und Maschine Software rose as the company reported a second-quarter profit vs. year ago loss. Solarworld rose as second-quarter profit almost tripled.

In Paris, the CAC 40 tacked on 5.13 points to 4,456.87 despite higher oil prices.

Thales rose after the government said it might sell its stake in the company. Klepierre rose after Fideuram Wargny Societe de Bourse raised its rating on stock to hold from reduce. Technip rose after UBS raised its earnings forecast for the company.

Asian markets also finished higher on Monday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 47.32 points (0.4%) to 11,946.92. Stocks in Tokyo rose on the back of strong quarterly earnings from big names including mobile telecommunications provider NTT DoCoMo and construction giant Komatsu. The broad-based TOPIX index climbed 6.63 points, or 0.55%, to 1211.61

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 97.9 points (0.66%) to 14,978.88 amid optimism toward earnings. Global banking giant HSBC Holdings led the Hang Seng index higher by index points ahead of its first half earnings release after the close.

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