European markets push higher on strong economic news

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

European markets were buoyed Tuesday by some further good economic news that helped offset the concerns and anguish stoked by the blast in Manchester, England which killed at least 22 people.

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KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 0.6 percent at 12,698 while the CAC 40 in France rose 0.8 percent to 5,365. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.2 percent higher at 7,509. U.S. stocks were poised for solid gains with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.

MANCHESTER BLAST: A suicide bomber blew himself up as young concert-goers left a show by the American singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, killing at least 22 people and injuring dozens. The singer was not injured. Britain's terrorist threat level has been set at "severe" in recent years, indicating an attack is highly likely. Greater Manchester Police announced Tuesday that they had arrested a 23-year-old man in the south of the city in connection with the attack.

EUROPE DATA: Europe's economic recovery is showing surprising strength, as key surveys of business activity and optimism hit their highest levels in years. Monthly surveys from Germany's Ifo Institute and IHS Markit's eurozone purchasing managers' index were both at multi-year highs. The data hold out hope that the region is set to see a sustained and marked decline in its unemployment rate from the current 9.5 percent. And the good economic news could well add pressure on the European Central Bank to signal a withdrawal of its extraordinary stimulus measures.

ANALYST TAKE: "What has been remarkable has been the speed with which indices like the FTSE, S&P 500 and Dow have rebounded to close to their all-time highs," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. "There is, it seems, no shortage of investors across the globe willing to jump in on the slightest sign of weakness."

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent to 19,613.28 as the yen gained against the U.S. dollar, potentially hurting exporters' earnings. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 percent to 3,061.95, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.1 percent to 25,412.73. The S&P ASX 200 of Australia slipped 0.2 percent to 5,760.20. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.7 percent to 2,321.14 as impeached former President Park Geun-hye went on trial.

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SOUTH KOREA TRIAL: Park, the former president, denied that she engaged in bribery and leaking government secrets at Tuesday's start of the criminal trial that could send South Korea's first female leader to prison for life if she is convicted. Park was removed from office after the Constitutional Court upheld her December impeachment after massive street protests over corruption allegations that emerged last October.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 10 cents to $51.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as did Brent crude, used to price international oils, to $53.77 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.1215 while the dollar was down 0.2 percent at 111.12 yen.