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The Deal: European, Asian Stocks Notch Gains Ahead of Yellen Testimony

Stocks in this article: BCS

LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian stocks rose on Tuesday as investors bet that Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will make placatory noises about monetary policy when she delivers her first testimony to Congress since becoming the boss of the world's most powerful central bank.

Yellen is speaking from 10 a.m. EST and is seen unlikely to signal any abrupt monetary tightening other than the excepted gradual curtailment of the Fed's bond buying program, which investors have already factored in.

In London, the FTSE was up 0.74% at 6,640.62, while in Frankfurt the DAX rose 1.01% to 9,383.67. In Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.74% to 4,268.32.

In Paris, L'Oreal was down about 1.7% after disclosing plans to buy back 8% of its stock from Swiss foodmaker Nestle for 6 billion euros ($8.2 billion). The French company will spend 3.4 billion euros in cash and hand a 50% stake valued at 2.6 billion euros excluding debt in dermatology joint venture Galderma to the Swiss company. L'Oreal will cancel the stock it buys back following the transaction, which will cut Nestle's stake to 23.3% from 29.4% and lift the holding of Bettencourt Meyers family to 33.3% from 30.6%. Nestle shares were down 1.3% on the move.

In London, Barclays (BCS) was down 1.9% after releasing full-year figures that showed adjusted pretax profit fell 32% to 5.17 billion pounds ($8.5 billion) because of restructuring costs and that demonstrated that its investment banking unit is struggling. CEO Antony Jenkins announced plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs this year.

Also in London, engineering services provider Babcock International Group was up more than 2% after it published a confident trading update. The company, which has a market value of just under 5 billion pounds, said it has delivered strong revenue and earnings growth in the year to date, and noted that a healthy order book and bid pipeline bodes well for future sales.

In Japan the Nikkei 225 closed up 1.77% at 14,718.34 and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng notched up a gain of 1.78%, closing at 21,962.98.

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