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US durable goods data boosts stocks

 US durable goods data boosts stocks
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European shares ended the session on Friday virtually unchanged having been much lower.

They rebounded in response to much stronger-than-expected US durable goods orders in June. The figures demonstrated strength in the US manufacturing sector and calmed investors concerns about the health of the world’s largest economy.

European insurance companies were hit by a profit warning from Germany’s Munich Re which saw its shares fall 7.3%. Banks also underperformed after UBS lost 6.1% because of a lawsuit filed against it by New York State.

On the upside, Danone surged 7.7% after the food and beverage group lifted its 2008 operating margin target and confirmed its sales and profit growth outlook for this year.

Oil prices fell further to a seven-week low.