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Corporate Dealmaking Helps To Lift Stocks

PAN PYLAS

LONDON (AP) â¿¿ European stock markets rose, then lost some of those gains Monday after lackluster early trading on Wall Street reinforced continuing worries about the U.S. economic recovery. Corporate dealmaking activity helped limit the damage.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 39.56 points, or 0.8 percent, at 5,234.84 while Germany's DAX rose 5.75 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,010.91. The CAC-40 in France ended 27.11 points, or 0.8 percent, higher at 3,553.23.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 9.9 points, or 0.1 percent, at 10,203.63 around midday New York time, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures fell 0.1 percent to 1,070.74.

All the main indexes in Europe and the U.S. had been trading solidly higher but the buying momentum ran out of steam as investors continued to fret about the U.S. economic recovery â¿¿ with little economic news ahead of a key speech Friday from U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and trading volumes light, stocks may flatline this week, analysts said.

"There still seems to be a lack of confidence amongst investors following the disappointing data over recent weeks and it is difficult to see anything but directionless trading for the major stock market indices in the days ahead, as markets suffer a double whammy of low holiday volumes and little economic data to shake up sentiment," said Yusuf Heusen, a senior sales trader at IG Index.

Disappointing economic data over the last couple of weeks has contributed to a retreat in equity markets around the world. But a pickup in the volume and value of mergers and acquisitions has helped limit the losses. The most high-profile bid last week was BHP Billiton's $38.5 billion hostile bid for Canadian fertilizer producer Potash Corp.

There's been some M&A talk this week too, particularly in Europe, and that's helped sustain interest in the markets in what is usually a quiet time of year. Trading volumes in Europe and the U.S. usually don't pick up from the summer lull until after the Labor Day holiday in the U.S., which this year falls on September 6.

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