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CAC 40 Edges Higher Led By Banks

French stocks were moving higher on Thursday, with sentiment underpinned by earnings optimism and better-than-expected factory orders data from Germany.

German factory orders fell 0.4 percent sequentially in June while analysts had expected a 0.9 percent drop.

U.S.-China tensions remained on investors' radar after China said that it conducted "precision missile strikes" in the Taiwan Strait as part of military exercises that have raised tensions in the region to their highest level in decades.

Market participants await the outcome of a Bank of England policy meeting later in the day, with analysts expecting the central bank to stick to a 25-bps hike.

The benchmark CAC 40 rose 28 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,500 after rallying 1 percent the previous day.

Credit Agricole surged 4.3 percent. The lender posted better-than-expected quarterly profits, driven by record activity in its investment banking division.

Rival BNP Paribas advanced 1.2 percent and Socite Generale added 2 percent.

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