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LONDON (AFP) – European stock markets rose further on Friday, building on recent gains on the back of a prolonged U.S. stimulus program, traders said.

London’s FTSE 100 index of leading shares climbed 0.53 percent to stand at 6,578.34 points approaching midday in the British capital.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 advanced 0.98 percent to 8,238.46 points and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.39 percent in value to 3,884.24.

Indices had also risen on Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated that it was in no rush to end its huge program for stimulating the U.S. economy.

Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that the U.S. central bank’s stimulus drive would be kept in place “for the foreseeable future”.

The news poured cold water on market expectations that the Fed would start to pull back on massive bond-buying later this year, which has sent global equity indices reeling in recent weeks.

“Markets are again nicely in green, still feeling the effects of Bernanke’s dovish comments from Wednesday, even though caution over Chinese growth — the world’s second largest economy — has returned to the fore,” Gekko Markets trader Anita Paluch said on Friday.

The euro fell to $1.3042 from $1.3092 late in New York on Thursday. The dollar grew to 99.06 yen from 98.90 yen.

The price of gold dropped to $1,276.16 an ounce from $1,285 Thursday on the London Bullion Market.

“A few soothing words on monetary policy by Fed Chairman Bernanke was all it took to revive market interest in equity markets,” said Derek Halpenny, European head of global markets research at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Asian stock markets closed mixed on Friday, with a record-breaking close on Wall Street offset by profit-taking after the previous day’s broad gains.

Japan’s Nikkei edged higher as traders bought back into the dollar following Bernanke’s comments and after the Dow and S&P 500 surged overnight to new highs on Wall Street.

The Dow rallied 1.11 percent and the S&P 500 jumped by 1.36 percent in value on Thursday, while the Nasdaq added 1.63 percent to end at its highest level since September 2000.

Bernanke’s comments came as a surprise, with most economists expecting the bank to begin winding down the easy-money scheme that was introduced in September and has fueled a rally in global markets.

Photo Credit: AFP/ Daniel Roland

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