European stock markets opened higher continuing the positive tone from the previous session. Investors assess more corporate earnings ahead of a Bank of England meeting.
The overall tone remains positive as the 1Q earnings season continues.
Likely to be in the spotlight on Thursday will be Societe Generale. The French bank beat expectations in its first quarter pushed by a strong performance in its global markets division.
Unicredit also posted a rebound with the Italian bank’s biggest-ever cushion for payments to shareholders.
Europe’s largest carmaker, Volkswagen, raised its operating margin target for this year. It has pointed to stronger demand for more profitable vehicles during the first three months of 2021.
The world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, reported higher than expected earnings for the 1Q. EssilorLuxottica, the maker of Oakley and Ray-Ban glasses, said its 1Q sales were boosted by a strong rebound in China and the United States.
Among others, earnings are also scheduled from blue chips Anheuser Busch Inbev, Air France KLM, and ING.
Stocks on the Move
The DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher at 2:05 AM ET (0705 GMT). The CAC 40 futures in France added 0.1% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. edged up 0.1%.
On Wednesday, the major European indices closed substantially higher. The DAX gained 2.1%, the FTSE 100 1.7%, and the CAC 40 1.4%, so far their best day in nearly two months. Resource stocks rose and data showed Eurozone business activity picked up last month.
On Thursday, Japan stocks were higher after the close, with gains in the Paper & Pulp, Railway & Bus, and Real Estate sectors leading shares higher.
The Nikkei 225 added 1.80% at the close in Tokyo.
On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, rising stocks outnumbered declining ones by 2470 to 1096, and 194 ended unchanged.
JFE Holdings, Inc. shares jumped to 52-week highs, 8.00% higher or 115.0 to 1553.0. The Nikkei Volatility was unchanged from 0% to 19.83.
Also on Thursday, Australian stocks were lower after the close. Losses in the IT, Telecoms Services, and A-REITs sectors led the shares lower.
The S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.48% at the close in Sydney.
On the Sydney Stock Exchange, falling stocks outnumbered the advancing ones by 805 to 564, and 388 ended unchanged.
Appen Ltd shares declined to 52-week lows, falling 21.10% or 3.11 to 11.63.
The S&P/ASX 200 VIX was up 0.85% to 12.492.