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European stocks rebound

Daniel Leussink
Traders were generally wary even though official data showed activity in Chinese factories expanded in May for the third straight month

European stock markets rebounded on Tuesday, as traders brushed off more warnings linked to Britain's upcoming referendum on EU membership.

Around 1330 GMT, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 1.0 percent compared with Monday's close.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index grew 1.5 percent and the Paris CAC 40 jumped 1.8 percent.

"European markets firmed on Tuesday in what was basically an unwinding of yesterday's modest losses," said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at traders CMC Markets.

"The gain in equity markets came in spite of another fall in oil prices after Iraq announced its exports grew to a new record."

A leading survey Tuesday showed that investor confidence in Germany fell unexpectedly in May as uncertainty over a possible exit by Britain from the European Union overshadows better-than-expected economic data.

The investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute decreased by 4.8 points to 6.4 points in May, the think tank said in a statement.

"The strong growth of the German economy in the first quarter of 2016 appears to have surprised the financial market experts. However, they seem not to expect the economic situation to improve at the same pace going forward," said ZEW president Achim Wambach.

"Uncertainties regarding developments such as a possible 'Brexit' currently inhibit a more optimistic outlook," he said.

Britain goes to the polls on June 23 to decide whether to remain in the European Union.

Asian stock markets meanwhile slipped Tuesday as falling oil prices deflated energy shares, while Singapore said it was kicking out a Swiss bank linked to Malaysia's 1MDB.

Investors were eyeing also the start on Thursday of a Group of Seven summit in Japan, where US President Barack Obama and other leaders from the club of rich nations will meet for annual talks largely focused on the sluggish global economy.

Elsewhere, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it had served Switzerland's BSI Bank -- which has been linked to a global money-laundering scandal rocking Malaysia's state fund 1MDB -- a notice of intention to withdraw its status as a merchant bank.

Sentiment in Asia took a hit also from worries over a possible US interest rate rise as early as next month, analysts said.

Adding to the US central bank's hawkish signals last week that a June rate raise could be on the cards, Fed board member James Bullard weighed in with comments in Beijing on Monday that suggested markets could be behind the curve on the Fed's intentions.

Since raising rates in December for the first time in nine years, the US central bank in March essentially forecast two rate rises for this year. But markets have had much lower expectations amid lacklustre US economic data.

US stocks opened on the positive side, with the Dow climbing 0.7 percent in the first five minutes of trading, having fallen on Monday as investors focused on the Fed's intentions.

Analyst Patrick O'Hare noted that the broader S&P 500 stock index has had a six-session string of alternating gains and losses that has left it little changed.

"That's a pretty good indication of a market that has basically gone sideways amid a lack of conviction from buyers and sellers alike," he said.

"This morning, it appears that buyers have the upper hand ... There isn't any particularly good reason why either," said O'Hare

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.0 percent at 6,195.01 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.5 percent at 9,988.60

Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.8 percent at 4,403.527

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.7 percent at 2,983.57

New York - Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 17,615.99

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.6 percent at 2,514.50

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.7 percent at 4,797.43

Tokyo: Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.9 percent at 16,498.76 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 2,821.67 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.11 percent at 19,830.43 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1159 from $1.1219 on Monday

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.79 yen from 109.25 yen