European markets were higher in late morning trade in London, buoyed by forecast-beating earnings and data showing growth in business activity.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index was up 0.9% after surveys of purchasing managers across the Continent showed business activity in the manufacturing and services industries hit a 21-year high in June.
While a similar survey of purchasing managers in the UK showed growth slowed during the month, the FTSE 100 index in London climbed 0.9% thanks to better-than-expected sales data boosting retail stocks.
Retail sales data showed that consumer activity slowed markedly in June after the re-opening booms of April and May. However, headline sales still rose by a robust 9.7% year-on-year, beating expectations of a 9.6% rise.
Marks & Spencer rose 2.4% to 141.4p, while Burberry gained 2.1% to £20.95 and Next added 2% to £81.76.
Vodafone shares climbed 2.7% to 119.2p after the mobile networks firm said quarterly revenues increased 5.7%.
Wall St and Asia stocks
Overnight in New York, tech stocks helped US indices keep afloat on Thursday, with the Nasdaq leading the gains for the main indices, up 0.4%. Early futures trading indicated modest opening gains for the three senior indices.
In Asia, stocks in China were lower while Japan’s markets were closed for a public holiday to celebrate the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Commodities and currencies
In a now familiar pattern of recent sessions, oil prices shrugged off earlier losses and were starting to move higher by late morning in London.
On currency markets, sterling was weaker following the purchasing manager data, with the pound down 0.2% to $1.3729 against the dollar and 0.3% weaker at £0.8564 versus the euro.
Approaching mis-session in London:
- FTSE 100 +0.9% at 7,022.95
- DAX 30 +0.8% at 15,640.9
- CAC 40 +0.9% at 6,539.03
- Dow Jones +0.1% at 34,823.35
- S&P 500 +0.2% at 4,367.48
- Nasdaq +0.4% at 14,684.6
- Nikkei 225 Market holiday
- Hang Seng -1.5% at 27,284.87
- Gold -0.4% at $1,799 an ounce
- Brent Crude flat at $73.81 a barrel
- WTI Crude +0.1% at $71.96 a barrel
- US Dollar Index +0.1% at 92.89