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European stocks rebound

European stocks reboundLONDON: European stock markets rebounded on Thursday from recent heavy losses linked to China’s weakening of its currency.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 0.24 percent to stand at 6,586.81 points in mid-afternoon deals.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 gained 1.32 percent to 11,069.06 points, and the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 1.57 percent to 5,002.67 compared with Wednesday’s close.

The euro fell to $ 1.1102 from $ 1.1159 late in New York on Wednesday.

“So fears of Chinese economic meltdown appear to have been allayed for the time being, evident in a broad stock market rally,” said Augustin Eden, research analyst at Accendo Markets.

Europe’s main indices had slumped over the past two days, with Frankfurt and Paris both shedding more than three percent on Wednesday.

China weakened its currency for the third consecutive day on Thursday, but financial markets that had been shaken by the earlier surprise devaluation took heart as authorities pledged not to let the yuan plummet.

The central bank trimmed the reference rate for the yuan — also known as the renminbi — by 1.11 percent to 6.4010 yuan against the dollar, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System said, from the previous day’s 6.3306.

Analysts have viewed the action as a way for China to both boost exports by making its goods cheaper abroad and push economic reforms.

It comes after recent economic data out of China has reinforced concerns that growth is slowing in the world’s second largest economy.

The reassuring tones from Beijing sent most Asian markets to higher closes Thursday, with Tokyo up 0.99 percent, Sydney rising 0.11 percent, and Hong Kong 0.43 percent ahead.

Elsewhere on Thursday, Athens’ main stocks index was down 0.94 percent at 684.89 points as official data showed that Greece’s economy expanded by 0.8 percent in the second quarter of 2015, with the country escaping recession in the first quarter as GDP remained flat.

“The flash estimate came in at 0.8%, far, far higher than the 0.5% contraction analysts were expecting, leaving everyone scratching their heads in bemusement. Regardless, the region’s news remained on the positive side… allowing the DAX and CAC to maintain the growth,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campell.

According to the new figures, the Greek economy posted zero growth in the first quarter of the year after having contracted 0.2 percent in the last quarter of 2014 — thus averting two periods of decline that would constitute a recession.

The figures showed second quarter growth up 1.4 percent compared with the same period the previous year.

The data comes as Greek lawmakers hold an emergency parliament session Thursday for a crucial vote on ratifying a hurriedly concluded bailout deal, but Germany — Europe’s defacto paymaster — has cast doubt on the agreement.

Greece and its creditors are under pressure to finalise the 85 billion euro ($ 94.8 billion) deal by August 20 when Athens must repay some 3.4 billion euros to the European Central Bank.

In New York, Wall Street stocks opened modestly higher Thursday after a report showing solid US retail sales in July spurred speculation that the Federal Reserve could soon hike interest rates.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood 0.04 percent up at 17,409.39 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 0.06 percent to 2,087.25 points, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.35 percent to 5,062.06.

Overall US retail sales rose 0.6 percent in July from June to $ 446.5 billion, a slightly bigger increase than the 0.5 percent gain projected by analysts, according to the Commerce Department.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

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