The European markets rose for the fifth day on Wednesday after reports showed an unexpected rise in U.S. durable goods orders and new home sales last month, indicating that the world's largest economy is showing signs of recovery.
The U.S. Commerce Department said its report that durable goods orders jumped 3.4% in February after falling by a revised 7.3% in January. Economists had been expecting durable goods orders to fall by 2.5% compared to the 4.5% decrease that had been reported for the previous month.
In a separate report, the U.S. Commerce Department said new home sales rose 4.7% to an annual rate of 337,000 in February from an upwardly revised January rate of 322,000. Economists had expected sales to fall to 300,000 from the 309,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Crude for May delivery fell $1.01 to $52.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed. The contract pared earlier losses, as traders shook off a government report showing U.S. inventories have risen to levels last seen in 1993.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.42% higher at 743.94 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.32% to 1,837.94 points.
Around Europe, France's CAC 40 index rose 0.66% to 2,893.45 and Germany's DAX index surged up 0.86% to 4,223.29, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index fell 0.29% to 3,900.25.
Inditex, Europe's biggest clothing retailer, climbed 4.8% after the company reported profit that beat analysts' estimates.
Britain's Premier Oil jumped 11% after posting record profit and offering to buy Oilexco North Sea Ltd. for $505 million.
Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, climbed 10.7%, as sports car maker Porsche SE turned to new banks to help refinance a ?10 billion loan needed to buy shares in Volkswagen.
Heavily weighted oil stocks rose after crude oil prices recouped some of their earlier losses in the day. BP, Europe's biggest oil company, added 1%, while Royal/Dutch Shell, the second biggest, surged up 2.5% and Total, the third biggest, climbed 1.8%.
On the other hand, mining stocks fell on weaker base metals prices. Also, Royal Bank of Scotland Group downgraded Anglo American shares to sell from hold. BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, declined 1.8%, while Anglo American, the second biggest, dropped 4.4% and Rio Tinto, the third biggest, slid 1%. Copper miner Antofagasta lost 1.3%.
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