Europe, Asia Higher

Asian markets were higher on U.S. Fed Chairman's Greenspan's comments

European stock markets closed higher on Friday. LONDON: The Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 21.0 points to a three-month high 5030.40 as July Brent crude oil futures fell. 68 FTSE stocks rose, 27 fell on turnover of 1,476,000.000 shares. Yields on 10-year gilts rose to 4.24% from 4.22% yesterday. Sterling fell to $1.8126 as the G7 finance ministers kicked off London meeting. Shell Transport and BP rose on IEA report supplies fell in May. Reuters Group rose on rumors company would make a stock buy back offer. Alea Group fell after company said it might raise capital to prevent a cut in its credit rating. Benfield fell after company forecast lower operating profit. Cable & Wireless rose after recommended a "buy" on the in a note to clients today.

In Germany, the DAX Index, which rose 5 points yesterday, was up 32 points to 4595 level with help from lower oil prices. 22 DAX stocks rose and 7 fell on turnover of 18,181,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds rose to 3.13% from 3.11% yesterday. The euro was off at $1.2121. Infineon in reaction to Intel's favorable guidance. Metro rose after Lehman Brothers raises its rating on shares to "overweight" from "equalweight" and raised the share-price forecast. AWD Holding rose after Landesbank Rheinland Pfalz raised its rating on the stock to "market perform" from "underperform". Beiersdorf fell after Merrill Lynch resumed coverage of the stock with a "sell" recommendation.

France's CAC 40 rose 30.39 points to 4184.10 even though French industrial production fell 0.3% in April. 34 CAC stocks rose, 4 fell on turnover of 90,318,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds rose to 3.14% from 3.12% yesterday. STMicroelectronics and Alcatel rose on back of Intel's higher guidance. Club Mediterranee rose after reporting first half profit for first time in three years. GFI Informatique rose after forecasting increased operating profit.

Asian markets were also higher on Friday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rallied 143.35 points, to 1.28%, to 11,304.23. Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 1.3%, or 143.35 points, to 11,304.23 and the broader Topix gained 0.9%, or 10.22 points to 1,148.97 on Friday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the U.S. economy is on a "firm footing" and inflation is contained leading exporter counters to gains. Matsushita Electric Industrial rallied 2%, Honda Motor added 1% and Toyota Motor Moto was 0.5% higher. Semiconductor stocks advanced after Intel said second-quarter revenue will beat its earlier forecasts, adding to evidence that industry demand is recovering. Tokyo Electron rose 2% and Advantest inched up 1.5%. Energy stocks were also higher after crude oil for July jumped 3.3% to $54.28. Teikoku Oil climbed 2.1% and Nippon Oil jumped 1.5%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 36.45 points, or 0.26%, to 13,934.76. Of the 33 HSI constituents, 15 rose and six fell. Leading gainers were COSCO Pacific, CNOOC, and China Merchants. Top laggards were CKI Holdings, MTR Corp, and Esprit. In line with market expectations, PetroChina is acquiring part of the overseas upstream assets worth $3 billion from its parent, China National Petroleum Corp. Most of the targeted assets are reportedly in Kazakhstan and CNPC's controversial assets in civil war-stricken Sudan are likely to be left out of the deal. Pending more information from the analysts' briefing today, we maintain our 4-STARS call. PetroChina rose 2.8%.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gains 26.65 points, or 0.27%, to close at 9,790.09.

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