RTTNews - The major European markets are set to rise for the third straight day on Wednesday after better-than-expected results from Goldman Sachs and Intel Corp, fairly decent growth in U.S. retail sales as well as a rise in commodity prices lifted Asian stocks notably.

The Dow futures were last trading up 55 points, pointing towards a higher opening on Wall Street Wednesday. Eurozone CPI and British unemployment data are among the economic reports scheduled to be released in Europe. Earlier in the day, Statistics Finland said retail sales dropped 4.8% year-over-year in May, following a 0.9% fall in the preceding month. Daily consumer goods trade declined 1.5%.

On Tuesday, some late buying interest helped the U.S. averages end on a positive note, extending their gains for a second straight session. While retail sales report released by the Commerce Department and producer prices report from the U.S. Labor Department revealed that things stabilized in the second quarter, traders largely shrugged off better than expected earnings from Goldman Sachs (GS), as the news was already priced in financial stocks in a rally on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.33%, the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.36% and the S&P 500 indexes rose 0.53%.

Crude oil futures finished lower for the ninth time in ten sessions and below $60 for a third day in a row on Tuesday after OPEC forecast an improvement in demand in 2010, but not as great as the one predicted last week by the International Energy Agency. In Asian trading on Wednesday, crude oil is now trading firm at $60.3 a barrel, up 1.33% ahead of the weekly inventory report from the Energy information Administration. Economists are looking for a drop of about 2.1 million barrels of crude oil supplies and an increase in gasoline stockpiles of 750,000 barrels.

In corporate news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA, in a statement on its website, required the makers of certain immunosuppressant drugs to update their labeling to reflect that patients using the medicines are at increased risk for opportunistic infections, such as activation of latent viral infections. Immunosuppressant drugs for which class labeling changes are required include Wyeth (WYE)'s Rapamune, Novartis AG (NVS)'s Neoral and Myfortic, Roche's Cellcept and Sandimmune.

Europe's largest maker of semiconductor equipment ASML Holding NV reported a second-quarter net loss of 103.95 million euros or 0.24 euros per share, compared to the prior year's net income of 191.98 million euros or 0.44 euros per share, impacted by lower sales of systems that resulted in a plunge in net system sales.

ACEA, the European Automobile Association, reported on Tuesday that production of motor vehicles in Europe fell by 35% in the first quarter of 2009. The ACEA warned further that that there was unlikely to be a pickup in the region's car business before next year.

Porsche SE's supervisory board meeting scheduled for July 23 would only discuss Qatar's investment offer and an alternative plan by Volkswagen AG to buy a 49.9 percent stake in Porsche AG is listed under information point rather than resolutions in the meeting agenda, German daily Bild said.

Alcatel-Lucent SA's CEO Ben Verwaayen is expected to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday to discuss planned job cuts.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s main European unit's administrators have put forward a plan to return about $13 billion in client funds that were frozen since the investment bank collapsed last September in bankruptcy, media reported Wednesday.

Mining giant Rio Tinto Group said that its iron ore output rose 8 percent year-over-year in the second quarter. AM International Power plc said it signed US$780 million, or £479 million, forward start revolving credit facility with its relationship banks which will run until October 2012.

Connaught plc in its interim management statement said it has continued its strong performance into the second half of the financial year ended 31 August 2009, maintaining a high level of new contract wins in both the Compliance and Social Housing divisions, with year to date order intake now standing at over £650 million.

In forex news, the British pound staged a sharp rise against its major counterparts at about 1:25 am ET Wednesday. The pound was last trading at new multi-day highs of 1.6396 against the US dollar, 153.41 versus the European currency, 1.7734 against the Swiss franc and 0.8553 versus the Japanese yen.

The European markets rose for the second day on Tuesday, as banking stocks rallied after Goldman Sachs reported a record quarterly profit and mining stocks gained after base metals prices advanced. The FTSEurofirst 30 index of pan-European blue chips closed 1.20% higher, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 1.29%. Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.85%, France's CAC 40 index surged up 0.98% and Germany's DAX index climbed 1.26%.

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