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UK Market Higher, Intertek Climbs

The UK market was higher on Monday, after data released by Eurostat revealed that the euro area jobless rate declined to the lowest since April 2012. The unemployment rate dropped to 11.2 percent in January from revised 11.3 percent in December. It was forecast to remain at December’s originally estimated rate of 11.4 percent. This was the lowest rate recorded since April 2012.

Eurozone inflation remained negative for the third straight month in February but the rate of decline in prices slowed more than expected, flash estimate from Eurostat revealed. The harmonized index of consumer prices fell 0.3 percent from last year, slower than January’s 0.6 percent decline and the expected decrease of 0.5 percent.

Eurozone manufacturing sector growth remained stable in February, final data from Markit Economics showed. The final Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at seasonally adjusted 51, unchanged from January’s six-month high. The reading was below the flash score of 51.1.

Meanwhile, British manufacturing activity was the strongest in seven months during February, at 54.1, with growth in output and new orders strengthening further, results of a survey by Markit Economics showed. Economists had forecast a score of 53.3.

In China, the central bank Saturday announced its decision to lower its key rates. The bank cut its one-year lending rate by 0.25 percentage points to 5.35 percent. It reduced deposit rates by 0.25 percentage points to 2.5 percent.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks was adding 0.05 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, was falling 0.20 percent.

The FTSE 100 index gained 0.32 percent.

Intertek group, which lifted dividend, added 4.4 percent.

Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays rose 2.8 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Tullow Oil fell 3.3 percent. Royal Dutch Shell and BG group were losing around 1.2 percent each.

Other markets in the region were mostly in the green.

The Asian stocks rose broadly as investors shrugged off soft U.S. data and focused on the weekend interest rate cut in China. However, the rate cut had only a limited impact on sentiment as the move was largely priced in.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major U.S. averages fell between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, as investors weighed solid pending home sales figures against soft consumer sentiment and GDP data.

Crude for April delivery fell $ 0.48 to $ 49.28 per barrel, while gold gained $ 1.7 to $ 1214.8 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

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