European stocks turned broadly higher on Thursday, after positive German data and as markets eyed the European Central Bank''s first policy statement of the year, scheduled later in the trading session.
During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.63%, France’s CAC 40 inched up 0.05%, while Germany’s DAX 30 rose 0.32%.
Earlier Thursday, official data showed that German industrial production rose 1.9% in November, beating expectations for a 1.5% increase, after a 1.2% decline the previous month.
The report came a day after data showed that the euro zone''s unemployment rate held steady at a seasonally adjusted 12.1% in November, in line with expectations and unchanged from October.
In the U.S., Wednesday’s minutes of the Federal Reserve''s December meeting showed that the bank cited a stronger labor market in its decision to cut its asset purchase program by USD10 billion, reducing it to USD75 billion-a-month.
Financial stocks turned broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale gained 0.93% and 1.87%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank climbed 0.42% and 1.43%.
Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA rose 0.31% and 1.06% respectively, while Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit advanced 0.51% and 1.01%.
Adding to gains, TGS Nopec Geophysical soared 12.93% after the Norwegian surveyor of underwater oil and gas field raised its annual revenue projection to USD882 million.
Elsewhere, French chemical company Arkema plummeted 3.02% after cutting its full-year earnings forecast to around EUR900 million.
In London, FTSE 100 added 0.18%, after the Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged in January and announced no change to its asset purchase facility program.
Financial stocks turned broadly higher, as the Royal Bank of Scotland jumped 1.66% and Lloyds Banking gained 1.34%, while Barclays rallied 1.74%. HSBC Holdings underperformed however, down 0.42%.
Meanwhile, mining stocks remained broadly lower. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton dropped 0.56% and 0.77%, while rivals Vedanta Resources and Randgold Resources tumbled 1.07% and 1.87%.
AstraZeneca hld earlier gains, up 1.37% after the Food and Drug Administration approved dapagliflozin, a treatment for Type 2 diabetes.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.33% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.28% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.27% increase.
Later in the day, the U.S. Labor Department was to release its weekly report on initial jobless claims.