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European Stocks Snap Four-day Losing Streak

European stocks snapped four days of losses on Thursday as investors digested mixed corporate earnings reports and looked ahead to a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 nations starting later today in Washington. Meanwhile, Spain saw its borrowing costs falling to the lowest level since September 2010 at an auction of five-and ten-year government bonds today.

Asian stocks ended broadly lower, with weak commodity prices weighing on resource stocks, while the Dow futures indicate a positive open following Wednesday's sell-off.

In data out of the U.S., investors await reports on weekly jobless claims, Philadelphia-area manufacturing and leading economic indicators for more clues on the health of the world's largest economy. On the earnings front, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, UnitedHealth and Verizon are among the companies due to report their results before the start of trading.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding a percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is moving up 0.6 percent. Around Europe, benchmark indexes in Germany, France, the U.K. and Switzerland are up between 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent.

Allianz is rising 1.1 percent in Frankfurt on reports the insurer may buy the naming rights to a soccer stadium under construction in Brazil. Commerzbank is moving up 0.6 percent amid reports the German lender is selling its U.K property business Eurohypo.

BHP Billiton is gaining 0.3 percent in London after the mining giant announced the terms of employment for incoming Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Mackenzie.

Shares of Sodexo S.A. are down about 7 percent in Paris as the French catering and vouchers company trimmed its operating profit forecast for fiscal 2013 after reporting lower profit in its first half, despite revenue growth.

Accor SA is moving down 0.4 percent after the hotel group reported revenues of 1.227 billion euros in the first quarter, down 1.2 percent from 1.242 billion euros in the same period last year.

Syngenta shares are climbing 4.4 percent in Zurich after the Swiss agribusiness company reported a 6 percent increase in its first-quarter sales, driven by growth across most geographies, despite cold weather.

Nestle shares are down 0.7 percent after the food and nutrition products giant reconfirmed its fiscal 2013 growth forecast, but said it still sees some volatility throughout the year.

In economic releases, U.K. retail sales declined more than expected in March due to a fall in non-food store sales, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed. Retail sales volume including auto fuel slipped 0.7 percent month-on-month, partially offsetting last month's 2.1 percent rise. Economists had forecast a 0.6 percent fall.

Separately, Moody's Investors Service retained Germany's top-notch sovereign rating in an annual update, citing its highly competitive economy and high levels of investor confidence.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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