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MENAFN - AFP - 07/12/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) Europe's main stock markets mostly added to recent strong gains on Friday, while the euro fell versus the dollar as traders digested positive US monthly jobs data.

London's FTSE 100 index added 0.31 percent to 5,919.51 points in afternoon trading, as Frankfurt's DAX 30 was essentially unchanged at 7,534.00 points and the Paris CAC 40 rose by 0.16 percent to 3,607.36 points.

In New York, a surprise fall in the US unemployment rate to 7.7 percent for November gave markets a boost in opening trade, with the jobs data showing little impact from Hurricane Sandy.

Minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.40 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.41 percent and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.45 percent.

The November jobs market data came in better than expected, with the economy adding 146,000 jobs, a gain from October's 138,000, which had been revised downward from the previous report.

European stock markets have registered strong increases this week, with Frankfurt striking a near five-year high and Paris hitting its best level so far this year, as investors bet on a better news for the single currency bloc despite debt strains.

"European equities are higher and peripheral bond yields lower as investors have become more comfortable with the idea that both the political will and central bank will to save the euro is stronger than the economic reality," said Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads trading group.

In foreign exchange deals Friday, the euro dropped to 1.2905 from 1.2969 late in New York on Thursday.

Gold prices rose slightly to 1,697.00 an ounce on the London Bullion Market, from 1,694.25.

The European single currency had turned sharply lower on Thursday after the European Central Bank said a decision to leave its key rate unchanged was not unanimous.

Traders had expected the central bank to hold fire at its last policy meeting of 2012, but the revelation by ECB head Mario Draghi that some members of the governing council supported a rate cut was enough for markets to take pause.

"The euro has been well and truly 'Draghied', falling almost two cents against the dollar and around a cent against sterling after the ECB chief revealed the governing council discussed cutting the overnight deposit rate below zero (percent) and suggested the bank was operationally ready to do so when needed," said Alistair Cotton, analyst at foreign exchange group Currencies Direct.

"The prospect of negative interest rates is a sell signal that any sane currency trader could not ignore, which explains the speed and scale of the move so far," he added.

Further weighing on the euro Friday were comments from Germany's central bank that the country, Europe's biggest economy, would fail to escape the debt crisis and might even see a technical recession early next year.

In company news, Italian private equity fund Investindustrial has bought a 37.5 percent stake in legendary British carmaker Aston Martin, the two firms said in a joint statement on Friday.

Investindustrial was to invest 150 million pounds (186 million euros, 240 million) in Aston Martin in the form of a capital increase.

Asian stock markets closed mostly higher on Friday after Wall Street had risen on Thursday.


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