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Europe: Equities bounce back, commodities stocks support

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[LONDON] European equities rose in early trading on Friday as firmer prices of metals and crude oil boosted resource-related stocks, although a pan-European index was on track for its fourth straight week of losses.

The STOXX Europe Basic Resources and the Oil and Gas indexes rose 1.2 per cent and one per cent respectively, the top two sectoral gainers, after oil gained on expectations of increased fuel demand following firm economic indicators from the United States and Germany. Metals prices were also firmer.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was 0.6 per cent higher by 0712 GMT after closing 0.8 per cent lower in the previous session, when the index slipped to a one-month low. It is down about 10 per cent this year and remained on track for its fourth straight week of losses.

On the macroeconomic front, German exports bounced back, rising more than expected in February, in a sign that foreign demand for goods from Europe's biggest economy is picking up again.

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