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World Stocks Edge Higher On US Economy Hopes

By CARLO PIOVANO

LONDON (AP) â¿¿ Stock markets rose Tuesday on hopes that improvements in the U.S. economy will make up for the continued gloom in the eurozone, where the unemployment rate hit a new record high.

Factory orders in the U.S. rose 3 percent in February, according to official reports. That was the largest increase since September and more than analysts had been expecting. The figure boosted sentiment ahead of Friday's release of the monthly jobs figures, a key measure of the health of the world's largest economy.

By close of trading in Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 1.2 percent to 6,491 while Germany's DAX rose 1.9 percent to 7,943. France's CAC-40 advanced the same, 1.9 percent, to 3,805.

Wall Street traded higher during the morning, with the Dow Jones index rising 0.6 percent to 14,670 and the broader S&P 500 up 0.7 percent to 1,572.

The steady recovery in the U.S. has been supporting markets in recent weeks in the face of financial trouble in the 17-country eurozone, where the economy continues to wilt under the pressure of government budget cuts.

Unemployment in the single currency bloc hit a record high in January and February, at 12 percent, according to the latest official figures released Tuesday. Governments are trimming costs and companies are discouraged from hiring due to uncertainty in markets.

Cyprus was the focus of such financial uncertainty this month as it chaotically negotiated a bailout. Deep cuts to its banking sector are expected to cause a huge slump in the economy â¿¿ to ease the pain the country was granted more time to reach its budget targets.

Earlier, Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.1 percent to close at 12,003.43 as the yen's recent weakness reversed course. A stronger currency makes products sold abroad more expensive, a hardship for Japan's export-dependent economy.

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