Europe Higher

European markets closed higher Thursday on bargain hunting and short covering

European stock markets were higher on Thursday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 25.50 points to 5045.00 on short covering. There was little reaction to a soft U.K. May retail sales report. 72 FTSE stocks rose, 28 fell on turnover of 1,525,000,000 shares. Yields on 10-year gilts were rose to 4.40% from 4.38% yesterday. Sterling was up at $1.8200. August Brent crude oil futures rose. Avis Europe fell after company said it planned to fund expansion. Cape skidded on plan to establish fund to help cover the cost of asbestos claims against it. Corus Group rose on company plan to deepen output cuts to shore up prices. William Hill rose after UBS raised its rating on stock to "buy" from "neutral". Documedia Solutions rose on agreement to buy Tangent Communications.

In Germany, the DAX index rose 31.45 points to 4579.87 on bargain hunting and short covering. 28 DAX stocks rose, 2 fell on turnover of 105,765,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds rose to 3.30% from 3.29% yesterday but finished down from 3.33% high. The euro was lower at $1.2076. HVB, subject of takeover bid from UniCredito Italiano, rose on rumors France's BNP Paribas preparing bid. DAB Bank rose on takeover rumors fanned by HVB deal. Norddeutsche Affinerie rose as copper futures surged on strong Chinese demand. Hocktief lower after UBS cut its recommendation on shares to "neutral" from "buy". Deutsche Boerse rose as Fidelity Investments raised its stake in the company.

France's CAC 40 edged up 0.79 point to 4185.15. 33 CAC stocks rose, 6 fell on turnover of 113,268,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds rose to 3.31% from 3.29% yesterday. Sanofi-Aventis fell after competitor won U.S. lawsuit over the patent covering its Lovenox drug. Geci International rose after the Portuguese government agreed to support the firm's Skylander aircraft development project. Havas rose as investor Vincent Bollore increased his stake in the company to 22.01% from 20.39%. Alstom fell after Goldman Sachs lowered its rating on stock to "underperform" from "in line". Lafarge rose after Merrill Lynch raised its rating on stock to "buy" from "neutral."

Asian markets were mixed on Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 finished flat at 11,416.38. The broader TOPIX index edged up 0.2% to 1,160. The small rise was accompanied by higher volume, while breadth on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange was 819-672 positive. Banking shares extended gains after Nikko Citigroup upgraded its stance on the sector the day before. Sumitomo Mitsui, UFJ Holdings, and Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group rose.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 80.77 points, or 0.58%, to 13,833.53. Meanwhile Hong Kong's Hang Seng index suffered a setback. Of the index's 33 constituents, 28 fell. Volume was average. China Mobile, HSBC Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa were the worst performance by index points.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gained 102.14 points, or 1.04%, to close at 9,968.71.

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