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Europe: Stocks rebound before G7 meeting


[LONDON] European stocks rebounded on Friday following sharp losses the previous session, as markets tracked a meeting of the world's biggest economies in Japan.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index and the Paris CAC 40 both rallied 1.7 per cent by the close while Frankfurt's DAX 30 index won 1.2 per cent.

Europe's main stock markets had slumped on Thursday, with London shedding 1.8 per cent in value, as traders reacted to concerns about a possible US rate hike next month.

In foreign exchange Friday, the euro rose to US$1.1208 from US$1.1203 late in New York on Thursday.

"Risk appetite has returned to equity markets," said Mike van Dulken, head of research at traders Accendo Markets.

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"An easing in dollar strength helping commodity prices hold up and oil pointing back towards US$50 is helping reinstill confidence."

Wall Street also pushed higher, with the Dow up 0.8 per cent approaching midday.

"US stocks are rebounding from yesterday's decline in early action, with the global markets showing some resiliency in the face of heightened Fed rate hike expectations," said analysts at brokerage Charles Schwab.

Markets meanwhile were following a meeting in Japan of finance ministers and central bankers from the G7 economies.

Divisions over reigniting global growth were set to surface in Japan Friday, with US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew expected to stand firm over any action threatening a currency war.

Two days of talks will see the host nation keen to win an endorsement for its position that fiscal stimulus is the way to kickstart the world economy, after a rally in the yen hit exporters and worsened a slowdown at home.

But Tokyo's recent threat of a market intervention to reverse the rally could put it on a collision course with its G7 counterparts, including the United States and Germany which have ruled out such moves.

"Investors were keeping half an eye on the G7 meeting in Japan in the unlikely event that finance ministers put differences aside for a coordinated effort to revive global growth," said Jasper Lawler, analyst at CMC Markets.

"Global markets meandered higher on Friday as anxiety about a summer rate hike in the US eased," he added.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's April policy meeting published this week implied that the US central bank viewed a June rate hike as a much more serious possibility than the market believed.

"I expect markets to remain incredibly unsettled" ahead of next month's policy meeting, said Oanda senior trader Stephen Innes.

Shares in the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse shrugged off comments by French finance minister Michel Sapin told AFP their planned merger poses competition problems.

LSE shares added one per cent and Deutsche Boerse shed 0.9 per cent.


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