European stocks opened higher on Thursday despite a weak handover from Asia, where the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group and Beijing’s latest push to rein in private industries hurt sentiment.
Sentiment was boosted after data showed the euro area trade surplus increased in July on higher shipments.
According to the first estimate from Eurostat, the trade surplus increased to a seasonally adjusted EUR 13.4 billion from EUR 11.9 billion in June. Exports increased 1 percent month-on-month, while imports grew only 0.3 percent.
On an unadjusted basis, exports of goods registered an annual growth of 11.4 percent and imports posted 17.1 percent expansion.
Investors await U.S. retail sales and jobless claims data later in the session for more clues on when the Federal Reserve will tighten its monetary policy.
European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde is due to speak at 1200 GMT.
The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.7 percent to 467.20 after losing 0.8 percent on Wednesday.
The German DAX rose 0.6 percent, France’s CAC 40 index jumped over 1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up half a percent.
Lagardere shares soared 20 percent in Paris after Vivendi reached an agreement to buy activist investor Amber Capital’s 17.9 percent stake in the French media and retail group.
Defense company Thales added 1.3 percent after keeping its 2021 financial goals.
Regional automakers were seeing modest losses as industry data showed Europe’s passenger car registrations declined in August and July after four months of accelerated growth.
German chemicals giant BASF rose 1.1 percent after it announced a strategic partnership with Chinese energy technology company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.
Wacker Chemie AG gained 1 percent. The chemicals company once again raised its full-year guidance for sales and EBITDA, citing the sustained positive performance of its business.
Food and beverages company GEA Group AG rose nearly 2 percent as it bagged an order from Denmark-based biotechnology customer Novozymes for a new functional protein plant in Nebraska, USA.
Ryanair Holdings jumped 6.3 percent in London after the discount airline raised its traffic forecast over the next five years. EasyJet rallied 3.8 percent and British Airways owner IAG advanced 3.2 percent.
Rio Tinto fell nearly 2 percent as the mining giant issued a statement on penalty assessment by the Australian Taxation Office in connection with an isolated borrowing used to pay an intragroup dividend in 2015.
Wickes rallied 2 percent. The home improvement retailer raised its annual profit forecast after a strong first-half performance.
Rental equipment provider Ashtead Group climbed 3.6 percent after lifting its outlook for full-year performance.
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