RTTNews - European stocks are expected to extend their upward trend on Friday in anticipation of strong earnings from U.S. banks Citigroup and Bank of America and industrial bellwether General Electric after better-than-expected earnings from IBM and Google buoyed investor confidence.

The economic calendar for Europe is relatively light, with only the euro zone May trade balance and construction output reports due to be released in the session. Asian stocks exhibited a mixed trend on Friday, with China's Shanghai Composite index and Singapore's Straits Times index drifting lower on profit taking, while the other major markets such as Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea traded higher.

Overnight, the major U.S. averages continued their positive momentum despite largely mixed economic and earnings news. On the economic front, while initial jobless claims fell more than expected, a report from Federal Reserve bank of Philadelphia showed a greater-than-expected fall in the index of manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region. Meanwhile, data on home builder confidence for July turned out to be a positive for the market.

On the earnings front, JP Morgan Chase reported second-quarter net income that blew away Wall Street estimates, but Xilinx, Cintas,Harley Davidson and Marriott International (MAR) offered a mixed bag of results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.11%, the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.19% and the S&P 500 index ended up 0.86%.

Crude oil futures rose on Thursday after a better-than-expected employment report in the U. S. and data showing strong economic growth in China improved expectations for energy demand. After finishing up 48 cents at $62.02 a barrel in New York trading on Thursday, crude oil for August delivery was last trading at $61.74 a barrel in Asian trading, down 0.45 percent on profit taking after a recent surge that was sparked by hopes of an early rebound in the world's largest economy.

In corporate news, Europe's biggest hotelier Accor's second-quarter revenue fell 9% from a year-ago quarter. Red Back Mining said that Moto Goldmines has notified the company about an acquisition proposal from Randgold Resources.

Ambrilia Biopharma and Kotinos Pharmaceuticals announced that they have entered into a Patent and Technology Purchase Agreement whereby Kotinos will acquire Ambrilia's prostate cancer therapeutic PCK3145 and related assets.

Virgin Media announced that it has priced the offering of $600 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2016 of its wholly-owned subsidiary Virgin Media Finance plc.

Private equity group Blackstone Group is reportedly advising U.K.-based rival Terra Firma Capital Corp on a plan to issue high-yield bonds to repay Citigroup's GBP 2.6 billion or $4.26 billion of loans

Biotech company Pharming Group NV announced on Friday, a first half net loss of EUR 15.1 million, wider than EUR 12.1 million in the first half of 2008.

Insolvency lawyer Horst Piepenburg will continue to support the group's restructuring as an adviser, Germany-based Arcandor said in a statement after Piepenburg offered to quit due to the lack of support by Arcandor's large shareholder and private bank Sal. Oppenheim Jr. & Cie.

French retail giant Carrefour reported a 1.2% drop in its second-quarter revenue and sees no revival in market demand in the near term. Porsche ranked as the industry's most appealing brand for the fifth straight year, according to the new J.D. Power and Associates 2009 APEAL study.

British Airways on Friday unveiled plans to raise GBP600 million cash funding, while reporting a first quarter loss of 100 million pounds.

The European markets rose for the fourth day on Thursday after JPMorgan Chase reported better-than-estimated second quarter earnings and data showed that economic growth in China picked up and initial jobless claims in the U.S. continued to decline. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.40% higher, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.35%. Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.35%, France's CAC 40 index added 0.90% and Germany's DAX index ended up 0.58%.

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