European Stocks End Higher

Markets in Asia post strong gains

European stock markets were higher. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 added 28.9 points, or 0.7%, to 4,176.7. The session represented a followthrough to Friday's gain, as traders ignored a report that UK exports to the U.S. declined, leading to a higher than expected trade deficit. Some investors worried about the impact of hearing into Blair government's Iraq weapons claims.

In Germany, the DAX Index was up 7.34 points, or 0.22%, to 3,339.58, recovering from earlier losses after a 2.5% decline in June exports signals that Germany may be falling into a recession. In France, the CAC 40 was up 22.83 points, or 0.72%, to 3,188.32.

In Asia, major stock indexes finished higher. Japan's Nikkei index finished up 160.27 points, or 1.72%, to close at 9,487.8. Many Japanese investors are gone for "Obon" summer holidays, but this turned out to be market positive with sellers absent as well. Shares of machinery makers jumped, helped by the 2.4% increase in Japanese machinery orders in June released last Friday.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 148.32 points, or 1.49%, to close at 10,093.54.

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