European Stocks Set For Higher Opening

 @ibtimes
on August 20 2009 2:18 AM

RTTNews - European stocks are poised to open higher Thursday morning amid higher commodity prices and gains across Asia led by China. Energy stocks could be in the spotlight on the back of a near 5% rally in crude oil price on Wednesday on signs of improving energy demand.

On the economic front, U.K.'s retail sales and public sector finance reports due from European economies and weekly jobless claims report from the U.S. are likely to receive investor attention.

On Wall Street, the major averages recovered from early weakness and finished up by 0.7% each on Wednesday, largely driven by a report indicating a jump in oil demand. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude oil inventories decreased by 8.4 million barrels, while analysts expected to see an increase of about 1.1 million barrels for the week. At 343.6 million barrels, however, crude oil inventories remain above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year.

Reacting to the report, crude oil soared to its best close in more than two months. After reaching as high as $72.80 in the day, light sweet crude for September settlement closed at $72.42 a barrel, up $3.23 or 4.67% on the session. In Asian trading on Thursday, crude oil is currently trading up modestly at $72.78 a barrel.

In corporate news, British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline plc on Wednesday announced that it received accelerated approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA for its Haemophilus b Conjugate Vaccine, Hiberix.

Koninklijke Ahold N.V. reported that second-quarter net income fell 42.3% to 195 million euros from last year's 338 million euros, which included a 161 million euros income from discontinued operations.

Sterlite Industries India, a unit of Vedanta Resources plc, announced that it is lifting its offer to buy substantially all of the operating assets of Asarco LLC by about US$ 500 million.

French telecommunications giant France Telecom said it would close a laboratory in Boston in October to optimize out research centers.

The European markets fell on Wednesday, as investors took cues from a sell-off in Chinese market and Volkswagen led automotive stocks lower. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.28% lower, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.30%. Around Europe, France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.01% and Germany's DAX index fell 0.36%, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.08%.

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