Europe Stocks End Higher

Asian markets finish with solid gains

European stock markets finished higher. London's FTSE 100 index was up 16.5 points, or 0.37%, to 4,503.2. A CBI report showed Britain's manufacturing sector has lost some steam, and some say this will reduce chances of a potential Bank of England rate hike next month.

Germany's DAX index rose 61.95 points, or 1.57%, to 4,007.05 in a spillover of Wednesday's late U.S. rally. In Paris, the CAC 40 index gained 35.61 points, or 0.96%, to 3,755.75 as Finance Minister Sarkozy outlined steps to cut 2005 deficit, and predicted a strong economy.

Asian markets finished with solid gains Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei index gained 163.59 points, or 1.41%, to close at 11,744.15. The index was boosted by gains in tech names after U.S. peers rallied overnight and on optimism that the Bank of Japan's tankan corporate sentiment survey -- due out on July 1 -- will show a strong reading, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope. Banks got a lift after S&P Ratings raised ratings on eight major Japanese banks on Wednesday. Furakawa Electric shares rose after Nikko Citigroup upgraded the stock to a buy from sell. Nissan Motor jumped on news that it aims to pay higher dividend.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index jumped 313.91 points, or 2.65%, to close at 12,163.68, with China plays continuing to lead gains.

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