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European stocks nudge higher

india Updated: Sep 04, 2006 16:09 IST
Reuters

European stocks started Monday's session a touch higher on the heels of a stronger Asian session, with mining stocks providing a boost as copper prices rebounded while crude oil languished below $69.50 a barrel.

The London Stock Exchange climbed after a newspaper reported Nasdaq Stock Market was considering a hostile bid, while French industrial gases company Air Liquide fell despite posting a healthy earnings rise.

By 0725 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst index of 300 leading shares was up 0.2 per cent at 1,379.8 points. The Nikkei added 1.4 per cent to reach its highest level in more than three months, while other Asian markets also gained.

Market volumes are expected to remain thin with US markets closed for the Labour Day holiday.

Mining stocks gained, with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both up 1.1 per cent as copper rebounded to recover most of last week's late losses.

Europe's major oil producers were broadly flat, with BP down 0.1 per cent, as NYMEX crude oil futures traded around $69.34 as dealers braced for several weeks of inaction on Iran's nuclear dispute with the West.

On the upside, LSE added 1.8 per cent after the Observer newspaper said on Sunday that Nasdaq is considering making a hostile bid for the exchange, in which it has amassed a stake of over 25 percent.

Air Liquide slipped 1.7 per cent despite reporting a 10.2 per cent rise in its first-half net profit, backed mainly by strong demand from refineries for hydrogen and continued cost savings.

Technology stocks were a touch higher, with Eutelsat gaining 1.4 per cent after its profit climbed and it upped its forecast. Elsewhere in the sector, Ericsson added 0.8 per cent, and STMicroeclectronics gained 0.4 per cent.

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