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LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian stock indices advanced before the Federal Reserve later Wednesday makes a decision about its monthly bond buying program in Chairman Ben Bernanke's last meeting before he is replaced by Janet Yellen next year.
In London, the FTSE was up 0.27% at 6,503.87. The U.K. unemployment rate fell to a below-forecast 7.4% in the three months to October from 7.6%, lifting the pound and bringing forward the likely date when the Bank of England lifts the benchmark rate from a historic low 0.5%. November jobless claims 36,7000, more than expected, from October, figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed.
In Frankfurt, the DAX jumped 0.64% to 9,143.13, and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.35% to 4,083.02.
In London, Tesco slipped after confirming it had applied for Indian government approval to establish a retail joint venture with Tata Group. The British company plans to invest about 70 million pounds ($114.5 million) for a 50% stake and would become the first overseas multi-brand retailer to operate in India since foreign ownership restrictions were relaxed last year. The move is a departure from Tesco's recent international retrenchment. Amid problems at home, it has either exited or pared back its involvement in markets including the U.S., China and Japan.
Also in London, coal-sector investor Bumi rose about 3% after shareholders approved a $724 million restructuring that would unwind cross-shareholdings with co-founder Bakrie Group of Indonesia. Investors also approved a name change and the company is hoping the new start will consign to history corporate governance issues and a long-running internecine warfare that prompted British regulators to change listing rules.
In Paris, oilfield services provider Technip slipped as much as 10% and was recently trading down 6% after warning of shrinking profit margins in its subsea division in the early months of next year.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose 2.02% to 15,587.80. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 0.32% to 23,143,82.