European Markets Mixed, Daily Mail And General Trust Surges

The European markets are trading mixed on Thursday, after encouraging data from China and reassuring FOMC minutes from the U.S. The Asian stocks rose broadly and the U.S. futures indicate a higher open.

In China, the latest flash estimate from HSBC and Markit Economics showed that an index monitoring manufacturing activity in China came in with a score of 49.7 in May. That topped forecasts for a score of 48.3 and was up sharply from 48.1 in April.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's April meeting showed the pace of eventual interest rate hikes would probably be relatively slow. While Fed officials discussed rate hike procedures at the meeting, no decision was made on mix of policy tools to begin tightening monetary policy.

Further, preliminary survey results from Markit Economics revealed that Germany's private sector expanded at a strong pace in May as seen in previous month. The composite output index remained unchanged at 56.1 in May.

Closer home, the Eurozone private sector posted its best calendar quarter in three years, Markit Economics reported. The flash Purchasing Managers' Index for both manufacturing and services came in at 53.9 in May, in line with expectations, but down from 54 in April.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.22 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is falling 0.10 percent.

The German DAX and the UK's FTSE 100 are trading slightly higher, while the French CAC 40 and Switzerland's SMI are languishing in negative territory.

In Frankfurt, Lanxess is rising 1.7 percent and BMW is advancing 1.1 percent.

Linde and K+S are up around 1 percent each.

Bucking the trend, business software maker SAP is falling 1.5 percent.

In Paris, EDF is declining 3.1 percent and Saint-Gobain is losing 1.5 percent.

Essilor International and Safran are down 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

GDF Suez is gaining 1.5 percent after Morgan Stanley raised the stock to ''Overweight'' from ''Equalweight.''

Alstom and Vallourec are rising 2.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

In London, Royal Mail, which reported full year results, is losing 6.8 percent.

US-based Sanchez Energy said it has agreed to acquire operated assets in the Eagle Ford trend of South Texas from Royal Dutch Shell for $639 million in cash. Shell is losing 2.4 percent.

SAB Miller is climbing 3.4 percent. The brewer reported increased profit for the full year, despite several headwinds.

Daily Mail and General Trust is surging over 9 percent, after reporting its first-half results. The company's digital media business, Zoopla Property Group, plans to file for an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

Raiffeisen Bank International, which reported quarterly results, is gaining 4.7 percent in Austria.

The Asian stocks rose broadly for the first time in five days, with fairly dovish comments from the FOMC minutes and encouraging manufacturing data out of China and Japan underpinning investor sentiment.

In the U.S., futures point to a slightly higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages rose about a percent each overnight, with consumer discretionary and energy stocks rallying, after minutes of the Federal Reserve's April meeting didn't provide any indication that an interest rate hike is imminent.

Crude for July delivery is falling $0.05 to $104.02 per barrel, while gold is rising $9.1 to $1297.2 a troy ounce.

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