RTTNews - 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.

Data released by China's National Bureau of Statistics showed that the country's GDP grew 7.9% year-on-year in the second quarter, faster than the 6.1% growth in the first quarter, and above economists' expectations of 7.8% growth.

The U.S. Labor Department said in a report that jobless claims fell to 522,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 569,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to fall to about 530,000 from the 565,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Crude for August delivery fell $0.28 to $61.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.40% higher at 866.81 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.35% to 2,149.43 points.

Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.35% to 4,361.84, while France's CAC 40 index climbed 0.90% to 3,199.68 and Germany's DAX index surged up 0.58% to 4,957.19.

Banking stocks rallied after JPMorgan Chase followed Goldman Sachs to report better-than-estimated second quarter earnings. HSBC, Europe's largest bank, rose 1%, while BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, surged up 1.7% and Societe Generale, France's second biggest lender, climbed 3.2%. Lloyds Banking Group, Britain's biggest mortgage lender, gained 1.8%.

Electrolux, the world's second largest appliance maker, jumped 9.2% after the company reported second quarter profit that rose from last year and beat analysts' estimate.

Infineon, Europe's second biggest chipmaker, rallied 12% after the company said quarter-on-quarter sales gained.

On the other hand, Nokia, the world's biggest maker of mobile phone handsets, tumbled 15% after the company cut its market share forecast for the year. Nokia said it now expects fiscal 2009 market share to be approximately flat, compared to previously expected growth.

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