RTTNews - The European markets rose on Thursday, as Holcim led construction stocks higher after reporting better-than-expected earnings and commodity stocks rallied after crude oil prices traded above $72 a barrel and copper prices rebounded.

The Conference Board in the U.S. said in its report that the leading economic index rose 0.6% in July following an upwardly revised 0.8% increase in June. Economists had expected the index to increase by 0.7%, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month.

The U.S. Labor Department said in its report that initial jobless claims rose to 576,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 561,000. The increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 550,000 from the 558,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Crude for September delivery traded down $0.21 at $72.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed. The September contract expires today.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 1.39% higher at 944.94 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 1.20% to 2,334.66 points.

Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 1.43% to 4,756.58, while France's CAC 40 index climbed 1.59% to 3,505.32 and Germany's DAX index surged up 1.51% to 5,311.06.

Holcim, the world's second biggest cement maker, rallied 5.7% after the company reported second quarter profit that fell 25% from last year but beat analysts' estimate.

Lafarge, the world's biggest cement maker, climbed 4.7% and Vinci, the world's biggest construction company, surged up 3.3%.

Dutch retailer Ahold climbed 4% after the company reported second quarter profit that fell from last year but came in above analysts' expectations.

BP, Europe's biggest oil company, rose 1.6%, while Royal/Dutch Shell, the second biggest, surged up 1.7% and Total, the third biggest, climbed 2.5%.

Similarly, miming stocks rallied after copper prices rebounded from a two-week low in London. BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, surged up 1.9%, while Anglo American, the second biggest, climbed 4.4% and Rio Tinto, the second biggest, rose 1%. Copper miner Antofagasta gained 5.3%.

UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, rose 4.5% after the Swiss government sold its stake in the bank for 16.50 francs a share after signing an agreement with the U.S. yesterday over data on bank clients suspected of evading taxes.

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