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Europe: Stocks climb at open

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[LONDON] European stock markets rose slightly at the start of trading on Tuesday, as the energy sector was lifted by rising oil prices before this week's central bank interest rate decisions.

In initial deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index advanced 0.2 per cent to 7,467.24 points from the closing level on Monday.

In the eurozone, the Paris CAC 40 index won 0.1 per cent to 5,393.24 and Frankfurt's DAX 30 also added 0.1 per cent to 13,135.82 points.

On oil markets, Brent crude hit a more than two-year high as both main contracts built on Monday's surge that came on news that the Forties pipeline in the North Sea has been shut down for a few weeks after it was found to be leaking.

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Focus this week is also on the latest monetary policy meetings of central banks in the US, Britain and the eurozone.

On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve unveils its latest decision, followed on Thursday by both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank - which is headed by Mario Draghi.

"European markets are trading in positive territory, with oil stocks particularly buoyant after the shutdown of the Forties Pipeline sent Brent crude oil to a 30-month high," said Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at online stockbroker Interactive Investor.

"With all eyes on central banks this week, investors will be hoping that Mario Draghi will remain the benevolent Santa Claus for markets and not turn into Scrooge," said Ms O'Keeffe.

AFP

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