RTTNews - Snapping a 2-day loss, European stocks are set to rise on Thursday, as investors brace for a slew of company results and rate decisions by the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

The Bank of England is expected to hold the key rate at a record low. Last month, all nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee unanimously decided to continue with its quantitative easing measures worth GBP 125 billion and also stood united in retaining the Bank Rate at 0.5%. The European Central Bank is also forecast to hold the interest rate at 1% for the third straight month.

House prices in the UK are set to be slightly higher by the end of this year compared to last year, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or RICS said in a report Thursday. This is in contrast to the institution's earlier prediction of a fall of between 10% to 15%.

UK's gross domestic product declined 0.4% in the three months ended July, after a 0.8% fall for the second quarter reported by the Office for National Statistics, the latest monthly estimates of GDP by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research or NIESR said Wednesday.

The institute said that their June estimate about a contraction in April was correct, but the pattern emerging now supported its view that the output is now stabilizing, and in the absence of future shocks, the period of sharp recession was over.

Separately, a survey from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs revealed on Thursday that Swiss consumer confidence deteriorated to minus 42 in the third quarter from minus 38 in the prior quarter, matching economists' expectations

Traders, meanwhile, keenly await the release of the weekly jobless claims report from the U.S. labor department, due out later in the day, and the U.S. non-farm payroll data due on Friday for further signs of recovery in the world's largest economy.

After a cautious start, Asian stocks recovered on Thursday, helped by strong metal prices, upbeat employment report from Australia and better-than-expected earnings from the world's biggest aluminum producer Alumina and Japan's biggest phone operator Nippon Telegraph.

On Wall Street, disappointing data on the health of the service sector and the labor market generated some selling pressure and dragged the major averages down to a negative close on Wednesday, offsetting some of their recent gains. Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department revealed that factory orders rose 0.4 percent in June, surprising economists, who had expected orders to drop 0.8 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.42%, the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.91% and the S&P 500 index shed 0.29%.

Crude oil prices turned modestly higher on Wednesday as optimism over an economic revival outweighed Energy Information Administration data showing another increase in weekly supplies. After dipping to as low as $69.71 in early trading, light sweet crude oil closed at $71.97 per barrel, up 55 cents or 0.77% on the session. In Asian trading on Thursday, crude oil retreated more than a half percent to $71.52 a barrel.

In corporate news, Germany's second- biggest bank Commerzbank AG posted a wider-than-expected second-quarter net loss of 746 million euros versus a profit of 200 million euros in the year-ago period, weighed down by a rise in provisions for bad loans.

Petroplus Holdings AG reported second-quarter net income, on IFRS basis, of $205.0 million or $2.81 per share, compared to $638.6 million or $8.46 per share in the previous year.

Deutsche Telekom AG reported that second-quarter net profit climbed 32.2% to 521 million euros from 394 million euros a year ago. On an adjusted basis, net profit grew 19.4% to 756 million euros from 633 million euros last year.

The IGE+XAO Group announced that it has canceled 172,200 shares representing 9.8% of issued capital.

RSA Insurance Group plc reported profit for the first six months of the year of GBP 223 million or 6.4 pence per share, down 24% from GBP 292 million or 8.6 pence per share last year.

Unilever announced a 4.1 percent rise in second-quarter underlying sales, beating forecasts, encouraged by the return to volume growth across all regions and the majority of countries and categories.

The European markets fell for the second day on Wednesday with the weak set of economic reports from the U.S. hurting sentiment to an extent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.55% lower, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.74%. Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index slipped 0.52%, France's CAC 40 index fell 0.51% and Germany's DAX index dropped 1.18%.

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