The European markets are in positive territory on Thursday, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi indicated that monetary stimulus would be continued.
Draghi indicated that the central bank is in no hurry to exit stimulus as he anticipates inflation to come significantly below the bank's target this year, giving room for maintaining an accommodative monetary stance.
ECB policymakers are "far" from considering an exit from the current accommodative stance, Draghi said during a speech at the Catholic Academy of Bavaria on Wednesday. He said the central bank forecasts next year's inflation to be significantly below the 2 percent target.
German unemployment declined unexpectedly by 3,000 in February from the prior month, the Federal Labor Agency said. It was forecast to remain unchanged. The jobless rate held steady at 6.9 percent, above the consensus forecast to 6.8 percent.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.36 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.54 percent.
The German DAX is gaining 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 is adding 0.3 percent. Switzerland's SMI is advancing 0.6 percent, while the UK's FTSE 100 is rising 0.3 percent.
In Frankfurt, Bayer is adding 1. 7 percent after annual sales reached a record high.
RWE, which was upgraded at Morgan Stanley, is gaining 1.8 percent.
Societe Generale cut Salzgitter to ''Hold'' from ''Buy.'' The stock is declining 3.4 percent.
Deutsche Telekom is losing 1.5 percent. The firm announced financial results.
Hochtief is declining 6.3 percent. The construction firm reported a profit for the year and announced plans to sell some businesses to return the company to a sustainable growth trajectory.
In Paris, Essilor International, which reported higher annual profit, is climbing nearly 6 percent.
EADS is gaining 4.9 percent. Veolia Environnement, which turned to an annual profit, is gaining 2.4 percent.
Speed-train maker Alstom is advancing 2.3 percent and hotel chain Accor is gaining 1.5 percent.
In London, International Consolidated Airlines is gaining 5.7 percent after reporting financial results.
ITV is rising around 4 percent. Investec raised the stock to ''Hold'' from ''Sell.''
Kazakhmys, which named a new finance chief, is losing 5.1 percent.
Royal Bank of Scotland is declining 3.4 percent after reporting a hefty quarterly loss.
Shire is falling 1.8 percent following a broker downgrade.
Ahold is up 1.1 percent in Amsterdam. The supermarket chain reported higher sales for the fourth quarter.
Telefonica is gaining 1.8 percent in Madrid.
Across Asia/Pacific, markets ended notably higher. Australia's All Ordinaries gained 1.3 percent and China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Japan's Nikkei 225 advanced 2 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.
In the U.S., futures point to a slightly higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory, partly due to a positive reaction to a pair of reports on durable goods orders and pending home sales. The Dow surged up 1.3 percent, the Nasdaq climbed 1 percent and the S&P 500 jumped 1.3 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is losing $0.17 to $92.59 per barrel and April gold is falling $8.5 to $1587.2 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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