European stocks are trading mostly higher on Thursday after ECB governor Mario Draghi said the central bank will do whatever is needed to preserve the euro. The euro surged higher against the dollar and commodities pared early losses, while the Dow futures indicate a higher opening on Wall Street ahead of data due on weekly jobless claims, durable goods orders and pending home sales.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is gaining 1.2 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is moving up 0.8 percent. Around Europe, the German DAX is rising 0.3 percent, France's CAC 40 is gaining 1.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 is up half a percent and Switzerland's SMI is adding 0.9 percent.
France Telecom is gaining 2.4 percent in Paris after it reported a smaller-than-estimated decline in revenue for the first half of 2012. Lloyds Banking Group is up 0.6 percent as it posted a narrower first-half statutory loss attributable to equity shareholders of 641 million pounds compared with last year's loss of 2.28 billion pounds.
Shares of Unilever Plc are climbing 4.7 percent in Amsterdam after the company posted first-half pre-tax profit of 3.27 billion euros versus 3.23 billion euros last year.
Volkswagen is tumbling 2.5 percent after the German auto giant reported slowing earnings growth. Shares of Siemens are moving down 2.9 percent. The industrial conglomerate said the deteriorating environment has made it more difficult to achieve its full year earnings guidance, as its industrial short-cycle businesses continued to suffer from customer reluctance to spend. The company also had scrapped its initial public offering plan for the lighting unit Osram.
Shares of Telefonica are down 3.3 percent in Madrid after the Spanish telecom giant canceled its dividend for this year and announced plans to cut 5,000 jobs. Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca is down 1.6 percent after it reported a 24 percent fall in second-quarter net profit compared to a year ago.
Alcatel-Lucent, S. A. is plunging 8.3 percent as the telecom equipment maker announced plans to reduce global headcount by about 5,000 after posting a loss for the second quarter. Royal Dutch Shell is tumbling over 3 percent on dismal earnings.
In economic releases, German consumer confidence is set to rise modestly in August despite the growing tensions surrounding thee eurozone's economic prospects, a key survey revealed. Market research group GfK said its consumer confidence index for August rose to 5.9 from 5.8 in July. Economists expected the index to remain at the July level.
Separately, the latest report from the statistical office Istat showed that retail sales in Italy declined less than expected in May, with sales declining 0.2 percent month-over-month in the month. The rate of decline was marginally weaker than the 0.3 percent fall expected by economists.
Elsewhere, Asian markets turned in a mixed performance, with bargain hunting at lower levels helping limit any significant downside.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org