RTTNews - The major European markets may open on a positive note Thursday, snapping a five- day losing streak, as the U.S. stock futures point to a modestly higher opening in New York Thursday morning. Investors look forward to the Bank of England's interest rate decision due at 7.00am ET. The Bank of England is expected to leave the key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.5% and raise the size of the asset purchase scheme by GBP 25 billion.

Germany's Federal Statistical Office confirmed its preliminary estimate for consumer price and harmonized inflation figures for the month of June. The consumer price index or CPI rose 0.1% year-over-year in June after posting zero growth in May. On a monthly basis, the CPI climbed 0.4% following a 0.1% fall.

Separately, Germany's Federal Statistical Office said that trade surplus increased to EUR 9.6 billion in May from EUR 9.4 billion in the previous month. A year earlier, the trade surplus was EUR 14.5 billion. Amid the release, the euro dropped against its major counterparts. At 2:05 am ET, the euro was quoted at 1.3916 against the dollar, 0.8643 versus the pound, 1.5144 against the franc and 129.58 versus the yen.

Meanwhile, after swinging between gains and losses over the course of the trading session, the major U.S. averages ended little changed overnight, as traders were reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the start of the earnings season. However, the IMF's revised forecast of the world economy expanding 2.5% in 2010 from 1.9% growth forecast earlier, helped pull the U.S. markets back from the lows of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.2% and the Nasdaq edged up 0.1%, while the S&P 500 closed 0.2% lower.

Crude oil futures plunged for a sixth straight session and reached its lowest level in seven weeks on Wednesday. Prices dropped on government data that revealed a larger-than-expected build in gasoline and distillate inventories last week. After settling at $60.14 a barrel, down $2.79 in New York trading on Wednesday, crude oil is now rising towards $61 a barrel in Asian trading after oil reserves data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a larger-than-expected rise in distillates.

Material stocks may see some activity after Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum maker, reported after the U.S. markets closed on Wednesday, a narrower-than-expected loss for its second quarter. A day earlier, the company's CEO said demand environment is improving, given the improvement visible in the Chinese economy and the probability of some U.S. Industries seeing a turnaround in the near term.

In corporate news, The Swiss government reportedly said it would forbid UBS from handing over confidential client information, if a crucial court case next week required it.

The world's biggest maker of industrial gases Air Liquide has completed the acquisition of a 75% stake in Saudi Arabia-based Al Khafrah Industrial Gases. Schindler Holding AG secured contracts for 177 installations at airports in Berlin and Kolkata.

The current allowance value allocated to the U.S. refining sector in the (House) bill does not cover direct emissions as fully as other sectors are covered, oil major royal Royal Dutch Shell said at a Senate Foreign Relations sub committee hearing on climate change.

In a trading update issued for the fourth quarter ended June, Hays plc said it sees a reduction in net fees of 37% compared to the same period last year. Associated British Foods plc said Thursday that Group revenue from continuing operations increased 15% for the third-quarter.

Cobham plc bagged a $32 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy to provide 37 additional AN/ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitters or LBT under Lot 2 of the program's Full Rate Production or FRP phase.

The European markets fell for the fifth day on Wednesday, led by banking and energy stocks, after the the International Monetary Fund said the world economy was stabilizing but recovery would be sluggish. The IMF said it expects the world economy to shrink by 1.4% in 2009, slightly worse than its earlier estimate of 1.3%. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 1.12% lower, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.88%.Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index slipped 1.12%, France's CAC 40 index dropped 1.27% and Germany's DAX index shed 0.56%.

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