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Europe stocks rise, Japan down on dour survey

PAMELA SAMPSON, AP Business Writer
Monday, 1 Oct 2012 | 5:21 AM ET

BANGKOK -- European stocks opened higher Monday, hours before Greek officials were to resume negotiations with international lenders who have pledged financial help if the country makes the necessary budget cuts.

Athens needs the lenders to approve a proposed package of spending cuts and tax hikes to receive the next installment of emergency loans intended to keep Greece from defaulting on its massive debts.

Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1 percent to 5,801.13. Germany's DAX jumped 1.4 percent to 7,316.17 and France's CAC-40 added 1.3 percent to 3,398.18.

Futures augured gains on Wall Street. Dow Jones industrial futures gained 0.5 percent to 13,415 and S&P 500 futures added 0.4 percent to 1,439.80.

In Asia, markets in China, Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for public holidays. In Tokyo, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell after a closely watched survey showed confidence in the economy weakening.

The Bank of Japan's "tankan" confidence index was minus 3, a worsening from the previous quarter's minus 1. The index is a percentage of the companies with a positive outlook versus those who see unfavorable conditions ahead, so a minus number means there are more pessimistic companies than optimistic ones.

The Nikkei 225 index shed 0.8 percent to 8,796.51. Toyota Motor Corp. lost 1.7 percent and Nishimatsu Construction Co. slid 4.2 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was marginally higher at 4,388.60, with losses in some sectors offset by solid gains among big banks and resource shares. Trading was light due to a public holiday in parts of the country.

Benchmarks in Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia fell. India rose.

Stan Shamu of IG Markets in Melbourne, Australia said that investors are still concerned about Spain's financial health. The Bank of Spain released an audit Friday showing that seven of the country's banks failed stress tests. Moody's, the credit rating agency, is also expected to weigh in on Spain's creditworthiness.

"Moody's already has Spain on negative watch, and one more downgrade would take the country into junk bond status," Shamu said in an email commentary.

Spain is mired in its second recession in recent years with one out of every four workers unemployed. Its banks have been struggling under the weight of bad loans and failed building projects stemming from the collapse of the country's property market in 2008.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 34 cents to $91.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 34 cents to finish at $92.19 per barrel on the Nymex on Friday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2905 from $1.2855 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose slightly to 78.01 yen from 77.99 yen.

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