By RTT News, March 15, 2013, 07:33:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The European markets are trading weak on Friday, as the region's leaders prepare to discuss a bailout for Cyprus at the Brussels summit. The Asian markets ended mostly higher amid optimism about economic recovery in the U.S.
European Union leaders late Thursday called for strong measures to address the issues of worsening economic and labor market situation, at the EU summit in Brussels, while thousands staged anti-austerity protests at the Belgian capital.
The leaders closely analyzed the region's efforts to balance austerity, growth and employment. There were more calls for pro-growth policies, especially from France and Italy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed on the need to fight unemployment. "We will have one priority: the fight against youth unemployment," Merkel said ahead of the meeting. "We have to get the money to the people so that young people get jobs."
The Federal Reserve on Thursday approved capital plans of 14 leading US banks as part of its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review - the so-called annual stress tests that gauge the capital adequacy of banks and the impact of buybacks and dividends on their finances.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ( GS ) and JP Morgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) were asked to submit new capital plans by the end of the third quarter to address gaps in their capital planning processes.
Inflation in euro area slowed to 1.8 percent in February from 2 percent in January, matching preliminary estimates, data from Eurostat showed. This was the lowest rate of inflation since August 2010.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.51 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is sliding 0.28 percent.
The German DAX is losing 0.1 percent, The French CAC 40 is falling 0.6 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is dropping 0.4 percent. Switzerland's SMI is up fractionally.
In Frankfurt, Volkswagen is losing 2.8 percent amid reports that Deutsche Bank placed 5.8 million preferred shares of the automaker.
Commerzbank is falling 1 percent while Deutsche Bank is moderately higher.
K+S is gaining 2 percent. Commerzbank raised the stock to ''Buy'' from ''Hold.''
Munich Re was raised to ''Neutral'' from ''Underperform'' at Merrill Lynch. The stock is gaining 2 percent.
HeidelbergCement and Lufthansa are notably higher.
In Paris, Satellite television company DirecTV Inc. has reportedly pulled out of the bidding for French media and telecom group Vivendi S.A.'s Brazilian phone and Internet unit GVT. Vivendi shares are declining 3.5 percent.
EADS is losing 2.1 percent and Carrefour is falling 1.8 percent.
Bouygues is gaining nearly 4 percent. French telecoms regulator Arcep authorised the company the refarming of 1800 MHz frequencies for use with 4G services from October 1.
In London, Royal Dutch Shell is falling 1.5 percent after JPMorgan downgraded the stock.
Inchcape is falling 1.7 percent. UBS cut the stock to ''Neutral'' from ''Buy.''
Home Retail is gaining 2.6 percent. Nomura upgraded the stock.
Arm Holdings is gaining 2.6 percent. The stock was raised to ''Buy'' from ''Hold'' at Jefferies.
Rentokil Initial, which reported an annual profit, is climbing nearly 11 percent.
Across Asia/Pacific, markets ended mostly higher. Australia's All Ordinaries climbed 1.7 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.5 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.4 percent.
In the U.S., futures point to a mixed open on Wall Street, ahead of reports on consumer prices, industrial production and consumer sentiment.
In the previous session, stocks rose, with the Dow extending its winning streak for the 10th day and the S&P 500 closing near its record high, after upbeat jobless claims data. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 rose about 0.6 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.4 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is advancing $0.25 to $93.28 per barrel while April gold is adding $0.4 to $1591.1 a troy ounce.
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