RTTNews - European stocks are likely to open on a positive note on Thursday, as investors digest a slew of earnings from top blue chip companies.

House prices in Britain rose for a third straight month in July, helped by tight supply, pent-up demand and historically low interest rates, the Nationwide Building Society said on Thursday, and believes that there is now a reasonable chance prices could end the year higher than where they started. House price survey from the mortgage lender showed that house prices rose 1.3 percent in July compared with the previous month, the fourth increase in five months.

Separately, Germany's Federal Statistical Office announced that the ILO jobless rate stood at 7.7% in June, marking the same pace as in the previous month. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 7.3%.

After exhibiting weakness in early trading, the major Asian markets either cut their losses or turned positive on Thursday, as better-than-expected results from top notch companies more than offset concerns surrounding the Chinese economy and a negative close on Wall Street Wednesday.

On Wall Street, the major averages finished lower by modest margins overnight, experiencing another lackluster session in reaction to the day's slew of earnings and economic reports. On the economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing that orders for transportation equipment declined sharply in June, contributing to a substantial decline in orders for manufactured durable goods.
Notwithstanding a recovery attempt in the final hour of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.29%, the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.81% and the S&P 500 index shed 0.46%.

Crude oil futures for September delivery closed at a 12-day low of $63.35a barrel, down $3.88 or over 5% in New York trading on Wednesday after U.S. Energy Information Administration data revealed a surprisingly large build in crude oil inventories last week. Stockpiles surged 5.15 million barrels to 347.8 million in the week ended July 24, the biggest weekly increase since April. In Asian trading on Thursday, crude oil was last trading mostly unchanged.

In corporate news, GlaxoSmithKline and Genmab A/S announced preliminary top-line results from a Phase III study of ofatumumab administered intravenously for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in patients who had an inadequate response to methotrexate. There were no unexpected safety findings.

CGGVeritas reported second-quarter net loss of $32 million or $0.24 per American Depository Share or ADS, compared to prior year's net income of $81 million or $0.56 per ADS.

Europe's second-largest maker of semiconductor equipment ASM International N.V. reported a net loss for the second quarter of EUR 55.7 million or EUR 1.08 per share, compared to net income of EUR 9.6 million or EUR 0.18 per share for the year-ago quarter.

Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariant reported a net loss of 61 million Swiss francs in the second quarter and gave a cautious outlook for the rest of the year.

German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG reported a first-half net loss of euro 216 million, but reiterated that it would generate an operating profit in 2009 despite the persistent economic crisis and its effects on demand, particularly in the premium(passenger) segment.
Europe's largest engineering company Siemens reported a smaller-than-expected 21 percent fall in its third-quarter operating profit.

French auto-parts supplier Valeo SA swung to a net loss of EUR54 million in the second quarter on the back of a 24% drop in revenue.

Dassault Systemes reported second-quarter net income, on a non-IFRS basis, of 43.9 million euros or 0.37 euros per share, down 20% from last year's 55.0 million euros or 0.46 euros per share.

SCOR reported first half net income of EUR 184 million, down 24% from EUR 242 million in the prior year. Basic earnings per share were EUR 1.03, compared to EUR 1.35 in the same period last year.

Smith & Nephew said its second-quarter pre-tax profit increased to US$176 million from US$157 million in the prior year period. Earnings per share for the quarter rose to 13.3 cents from 11.5 cents last year.

The European markets rose on Wednesday, as better-than-expected corporate earnings from companies such as Akzo Nobel and Bayer cheered investor sentiment. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.87% higher, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.68%. Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.41%, France's CAC 40 index gained 1.04% and Germany's DAX index advanced 1.85%.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com