RTTNews - The European markets rose for the first time in five days on Thursday, as several better-than-expected U.S. economic reports pointed towards a stabilization of the world's largest economy.

The Conference Board in the U.S. said in a report that the leading indicators index rose 1.2% in May following an upwardly revised 1.1% increase in April. Economists had expected the index to increase by 1.0%, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its index of activity in the manufacturing sector rose to a negative 2.2 in June from a negative 22.6 in May, although a negative reading still indicates a contraction. Economists had been expecting a much more modest increase to a reading of negative 17.0.

The U.S. Labor Department said in its report that initial jobless claims rose to 608,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 605,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 604,000 from the 601,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Crude for July delivery rose $0.06 to $71.09 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 0.57% higher at 850.62 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.66% to 2,111.69 points.

Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.06% to 4,280.86, while France's CAC 40 index climbed 1.04% to 3,194.06 and Germany's DAX index surged up 0.78% to 4,837.48.

ING, the largest Dutch financial services firm, climbed 8% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and added it to its conviction buy list.

Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse surged up 3.6% and 5.2%, respectively, after the Swiss National Bank said it will keep its drastic measures to fight recession and calls for rules to split off parts of its dominant banks and limit their size if needed to protect the economy.

HeidelbergCement jumped 17.4% after the German cement maker secured a ?8.7 million loan restructuring plan from its banks.

Carnival, the world's biggest cruise-line operator, climbed 7.2% after the company reported second quarter profit that fell from last year but came in above analysts' expectations.

On the other hand, DSG International,Europe's second-largest electronics goods retailer, slipped 6.3 after a report showed that U.K. retail sales unexpectedly dropped in May for the first time in three months.

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