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Europe: Stock markets climb at open

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[LONDON] Europe's main stock markets rose solidly at the open Wednesday following a rally in Tokyo, as investors reacted to news that US interest rates could rise as early as March.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 0.4 per cent to 7,297.90 points compared with the close Tuesday.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 won 0.5 per cent to 11,834.48 points and the Paris CAC 40 grew by 0.3 per cent to 4,910.57.

The dollar meanwhile extended gains as traders cheered upbeat remarks on the US economy by Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen and her suggestion interest rates could rise next month.

Market voices on:

Wall Street ploughed to record highs for a fourth successive day as Yellen reinforced the view that the world's top economy was in rude health, with the jobs market improving and inflation heading to the Fed's two per cent target.

Market "bullishness stems from hawkish testimony by Janet Yellen... giving a fillip to a key financial sector whose profitability benefits from higher interest rates", said Accendo Markets analyst Mike van Dulken.

In company news Wednesday, European stock market operator Euronext said cost-cutting enabled it to lift profits last year despite market volatility triggered by Brexit and the US elections.