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European stocks higher, euro zone talks in focus; Dax up 0.37%

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Shutterstock photo - European stocks were higher on Monday, led by the financial sector, as investors eyed a highly anticipated meeting of euro zone finance ministers later in the day.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 added 0.26%, France's CAC 40 edged up 0.07%, while Germany's DAX 30 rose 0.37%.

The euro group of euro zone finance ministers was to hold talks to discuss how the euro zone's permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism can provide direct aid to banks.

On Friday Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing chairman of the eurogroup endorsed Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem as a "good" candidate to take over his job.

The appointment will be closely watched as the head of the eurogroup plays a vital role forming a policy response to the debt crisis.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as shares in French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale rose 0.19% and 0.93%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank advanced 0.71% and 0.77% respectively.

Peripheral lenders added to gains, with Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit adding 0.20% and 0.23%, while Spain's BBVA rose 0.39%.

On the downside, Richemont plummeted 5.81% after the maker of Cartier jewelry reported third-quarter revenue that missed analysts' estimates.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 added 0.15%, boosted by sharp gains in mining stocks.

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto climbed 0.68% and 0.69%, while copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys gained 0.86% and 0.42%.

Admiral Group added to gains, surging 5.11% after Goldman Sachs raised its recommendation for the car insurer to "conviction buy" from "neutral".

Elsewhere, financial stocks were broadly higher, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland, up 0.63%, while Barclays added 0.14%, HSBC Holdings eased up 0.04% and Lloyds Banking inched 0.02% higher.

In the U.S., markets were to remain closed for a national holiday.

Earlier Friday, official data showed that producer price inflation in Germany slipped 0.3% in December after a 0.1% fall the previous month. Analysts had expected producer price inflation to be flat last month. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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