Asia Closes Higher

Asian stock markets closed higher Thursday on the strength of exporters, as the dollar's uptrend persisted

European stock markets were mixed on Thursday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 4.10 points to 5113.20 on reports U.K. first-quarter GDP was revised down to 0.4% from the 0.5% previously reported, and the fourth quarter was revised down to 0.6% from the 0.7% previously. U.K. June Gfk consumer confidence dropped to -3 from -1 in May. 73 FTSE stocks rose, 28 were down on turnover of 1,867,000,000 shares. Yields on 10-year gilts fell to 4.15% from 4.21% yesterday. Sterling fell to $1.7919. August Brent crude oil futures slipped. Aviva rose after JP Morgan raised its rating on stock to "overweight" from "neutral". BAE rose after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to "outperform". HSBC fell after Morgan Stanley lowered its recommendation of the shares to "underweight" from "equal weight."

In Frankfurt, the DAX Index tacked on 2.65 points to 4586.28 following reports German unemployment fell to 11.7% from 11.8% but not far from the record 12% level. Also, Eurozone June economic sentiment and industrial sentiment rose and Eurozone flash June CPI rose to 2.1% from 1.9% in May. 20 DAX stocks fell, 10 rose on turnover of 118,601,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds fell to 3.12% from 3.17% yesterday. The euro rose to $1.2093. RWE rose after Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein raised its share price estimate for the stock. MPC Capital rose after UBS upgraded the shares to "buy 2" from "neutral 2". Hannover Rueckversicherung fell after Morgan Stanley sold a $37.6 million stake in company.

France's CAC 40 shed 2.53 points to 4229.35 on profit taking from yesterday's gains. 24 CAC stocks fell, 16 rose on turnover of 124,613,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds fell to 3.12% from 3.18% yesterday. Pernod fell after ING downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy". France Telecom rose after the company said it would double its dividend, reduce debt, and introduce new services. Ares fell after company reported flat fiscal year results. Jacquet rose after the company reported higher earnings.

Asian markets were lower on Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 6.57 points, or 0.06%, to 11,584.01. Gains in a few heavy-weight components such as Toyota Motor and NTT DoCoMo pushed the TOPIX up 0.72 point to 1177.20, matching the Nikkei 225's meager 0.06% gain, but declining issues outpaced advancers by 948 to 549. Volume rose. Strength in exporters including the big automobile makers and others such as Takeda Pharmaceuticals continued, as the dollar's uptrend persisted. Meanwhile, major financial plays fell, led by Mizuho Financial and Mitsui Sumitomo.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 76.22 point, or 0.53%, to 14,201.06. Volume fell but was still well above its recent average. This continues a recent pattern of higher volume on up days and lower volume on down days. Declining issues outpaced advancers by 17 to 11.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P lost 126.56 points, or 1.26%, to close at 9,902.77.

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