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European Markets Inch Higher In Directionless Trading

The European markets swung back and forth between small gains and losses over the course of Thursday's session. At the end of the day, the majority of the markets ended the day with small gains.

Economic data was again on the light side Thursday and markets have had a difficult time extending their gains in recent days due to a lack of catalysts. Investors are keeping a watchful eye on the IMF's annual meeting in Washington D.C., where European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and other ECB members are due to deliver speeches.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.04 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 0.05 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, lost 0.06 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 0.09 percent, but the CAC 40 of France fell 0.03 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.30 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 0.35 percent.

Banks were under pressure after the European Commission proposed new measures to strengthen the EU banking sector against future crises. Deutsche Bank decreased 1.05 percent, BNP Paribas lost 1.13 percent and Societe Generale fell 0.42 percent. Standard Chartered also weakened by 0.85 percent.

In Frankfurt, Lufthansa climbed 2.30 percent. The airline said it would sign an agreement to buy large parts of the bankrupt carrier Air Berlin.

In Paris, Accor slid 0.28 percent after Australia's Mantra Group agreed to be bought by the hotel group.

Sanofi lost 0.26 percent after saying it would invest 170 million euros to expand a vaccine manufacturing site in Val de Reuil, France.

In London, Sky Plc gained 1.42 percent after the company reported better-than-expected first quarter results and said it is on track to meet its full-year targets.

Recruitment firm Hays advanced 0.26 percent after reporting a 10 percent rise in first-quarter net fees at constant currencies.

Just Eat surged 6.54 percent after the Competition and Markets Authority approved its planned £200m purchase of rival Hungryhouse.

Eurozone industrial output expanded at the fastest pace in nine months in August, largely driven by production of capital goods. Industrial production grew by a more-than-expected 1.4 percent month-on-month in August, faster than the 0.3 percent rise seen in July, data from Eurostat showed Thursday.

This was the biggest increase since November 2016, when output grew 1.6 percent. Economists had forecast a monthly 0.6 percent increase.

France's consumer price inflation rose to a five-month high in September, final data from the statistical office Insee showed Thursday. Inflation rose to 1 percent in September, as estimated, from 0.9 percent in August. This was the fastest rate since April, when inflation was 1.2 percent.

House prices in the United Kingdom moved higher again in September, the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed on Thursday with a house price balance of 6.0 percent. That was unchanged from the August reading, and it beat expectations for a gain of 4.0 percent.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than anticipated in the week ended October 7th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 243,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's revised level of 258,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 251,000 from the 260,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Partly reflecting another jump in energy prices, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that U.S. producer prices increased in line with economist estimates in the month of September. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand climbed by 0.4 percent in September after edging up by 0.2 percent in August.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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