The French market is notably higher on Thursday, after European leaders made it clear that they want Greece to remain in the euro area. Investors largely shrugged off some discouraging economic data.
Most major markets ended lower in Asia/Pacific, after China's manufacturing sector shrank for a seventh straight month in May.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said late Wednesday that European leaders want Greece to remain in the euro area while respecting its commitments. Rompuy added that it was vital for Greece to implement the reforms demanded in the bailout deals for overcoming its economic problems.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 1.21 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 1.18 percent.
The CAC 40 index is currently rising 1.17 percent.
Alcatel Lucent is adding 2.7 percent. EDF and GDF are rising 2.1 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas are advancing between 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent.
Renault is up 0.3 percent while Peugeot is falling 0.6 percent.
EADS is losing 1.5 percent.
Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is adding 0.63 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is gaining 1.22 percent. Switzerland's SMI is adding 0.58 percent.
In economic news, Germany's business confidence declined more than expected in May, reports said citing the latest survey results from Ifo Institute. The Ifo business climate index fell to 106.9 in May from 109.9 in April, the first fall since October last year.
Meanwhile, Eurozone economic activity fell to a near three-year low in May, marking the fastest rate of contraction since June 2009, flash data from Markit Economics revealed.
The U.K. economy shrank more than initially estimated during the first quarter, the Office for National Statistics said. Gross domestic product declined 0.3 percent, slightly bigger than the previously estimated drop of 0.2 percent.
China's manufacturing sector shrank for a seventh straight month in May, as weak demand owing to the deepening Eurozone crisis and fragile global growth curtailed new orders received by Chinese firms. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 percent.
Australia's All Ordinaries slid 0.3 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.6 percent. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 percent.
In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street, ahead of the release of the jobless claims and the durables goods orders data. In the previous session, stocks staged a significant recovery over the course of the afternoon and the major averages eventually ended the session mixed. While the Dow edged down 0.1 percent, the Nasdaq rose 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 crept up 0.2 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for July delivery is adding $0.66 to $90.56 per barrel and June gold is adding $13 to $1561.4 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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