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European, Asian Stocks Rise Ahead of Yellen Speech

LONDON ( The Deal) -- European and Asian stocks rose on Wednesday, building on Tuesday's gains, as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen prepared to deliver a speech in Washington.

Yellen will speak at 11 a.m. EDT at the International Monetary Fund on the subject of financial stability. Investors will be hoping for more placatory noises about monetary policy and that she won't echo the Bank of International Settlements' warning earlier this week that "euphoric" markets don't reflect economic reality. Figures investors will be watching from the U.S. Wednesday include May factory orders data, where a contraction of 0.3% is expected compared with an increase of 0.7% in April.

Figures from the European Commission's statistics arm confirmed eurozone producer prices fell 1% year on year in May.

In London, the FTSE 100 edged up 0.18% to 6,815.40. In Frankfurt, the DAX rose 0.22% to 9,924.26, and in Paris the CAC 40 was down 0.03% at 4,459.79.

In London, shares in maternity goods and children's clothing retailer Mothercare shot up more than 10% on news that Philadelphia-based Destination Maternity had made two proposals, with the most recent one valuing the stock at 266 million pounds ($456.4 million). Mothercare has rebuffed Destination Maternity, which now has until July 30 to announce a firm intention to make an offer or to retreat, under U.K. Takeover Code rules.

In Paris, Orange declined as France's leading telecom effectively ruled out a bid for the telecoms unit of conglomerate Bouygues, declaring it will not participate in French telecoms consolidation. Bouygues fell 2%. Bouygues' other option for its telecoms unit is a tie-up with France's No. 4 wireless services operator, Iliad, though reports last month suggested those discussions were struggling.

In Amsterdam, shares in insurer NN Group rose on their debut after ING Groep (ING) priced shares near the upper end of the range in a listing that will generate gross proceeds of about 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion), assuming a greenshoe is used. ING has to sell NN by the end of 2015 to meet the terms of European Commission approval of state aid it received at the height of the credit crisis.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 0.29% at 15,369.97.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng surged 1.55% to close at 23,549.62.

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