The European markets are moderate to notably higher in afternoon trading Friday, ahead of a policy address by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Jackson Hole meet later in the day. The Asian markets fell while the U.S. index futures are higher.
Moody's Investor Service said late Thursday its review of Spain's government rating for a possible downgrade would continue through the end of September because of pending information.
The review is dependent on the scope of the bank recapitalization, support available under the European Stability Mechanism and potential changes to the existing crisis-management framework, the rating agency said.
German retail sales unexpectedly dropped for the first time in three months in July amid a continued rise in unemployment. Retail sales fell a calendar-and-seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent, while economists expected sales to grow 0.2 percent, the Federal Statistical Office said.
Meanwhile, Eurozone inflation accelerated to 2.6 percent in August from 2.4 percent in July, flash estimate issued by Eurostat showed. The rate was forecast to rise to 2.5 percent. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained unchanged at a record 11.3 percent in July.
Residential property prices in the U.K. rebounded strongly in August after falling for two months in a row, results of a survey revealed.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is advancing 1.40 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is adding 0.65 percent.
The German DAX is gaining 1.31 percent and the French CAC 40 is advancing 1.36 percent. The FTSE 100 of the UK is adding 0.54 percent and Switzerland's SMI is rising 0.68 percent.
In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank is gaining 2.1 percent and Commerzbank is rising 0.7 percent.
Lufthansa is advancing 1.7 percent and insurer Allianz is adding 1.4 percent.
HSBC started Fresenius with an "Overweight" rating. The stock is moderately higher.
Deutsche EuroShop is climbing 1.1 percent after a broker upgrade.
Societe Generale started Fresenius Medical Care with a "Buy" rating. The stock is falling 0.7 percent.
K+S is losing around 1 percent.
In Paris, Credit Agricole is surging 5.1 percent. Societe Generale is up 2.3 percent and BNP Paribas is gaining 1.5 percent.
Peugeot is advancing 2 percent. Renault is up 1 percent.
GDF Suez is gaining 0.6 percent. UBS removed the stock from its "Most Preferred List."
Luxury retailer Hermes reported higher profits for the first half but sounded cautious about the full year. The stock is up 1.3 percent.
Iliad is climbing 4.7 percent after announcing results for the first six months of the year.
Aeroports de Paris is losing 2.9 percent. The firm reported first-half results.
Essilor is falling 1.6 percent. The lens maker reported first-half results.
Carrefour is down 0.4 percent even after Barclays upgraded the stock.
HSBC cut Eurofins Scientific to "Neutral" from "Overweight." The stock is losing 3 percent.
In London, miners Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and Kazakhmys are gaining between 1.7 percent and 2.8 percent. Commodities trader Glencore is climbing 2.7 percent.
Barclays is up 0.9 percent and Royal Bank of Scotland is gaining 1.4 percent.
Outside the main index, Redrow is gaining 2.8 percent. The company has received an initial approach from Bridgemere Securities Limited, Toscafund Asset Management LLP and Penta Capital LLP in connection with a possible cash offer of approximately 152 pence per share.
Restaurant Group is gaining 2.8 percent after reporting higher profit in the first half of the year.
WPP is falling 1 percent after a broker downgrade.
Bankia is adding 3.3 percent in Madrid on reports of recapitalization.
Across Asia/Pacific, Japan's Nikkei 225 retreated 1.6 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.4 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.25 percent and Australia's All Ordinaries slid 0.03 percent.
In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, uncertainty ahead of the speech by Bernanke hurt stocks. The S&P 500 and the Dow fell 0.8 percent each while the Nasdaq dropped 1.1 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for October delivery is adding $0.42 to $95.04 per barrel and December gold is climbing $3.5 to $1660.6 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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