By RTT News,
January 03, 2014, 06:37:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The European markets are trading higher on Friday, as retailers benefited from an upbeat trading update from Next. Investors largely shrugged off weak non-manufacturing data out of China.
In economic news from the region, U.K. mortgage approvals increased for the ninth consecutive month in November, the Bank of England said. The number of loans approved for house purchases was 70,758 in November, up from 68,029 in October, exceeding the 69,700 level forecast by economists.
U.K. house price growth accelerated more than expected at the end of 2013, data from Nationwide revealed. House prices increased 8.4 percent year-on-year in December, after rising 6.5 percent in November. The annual growth rate was forecast to rise to 7.1 percent.
A survey by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply revealed that the U.K.'s construction sector growth moderated in December as new order inflows eased.
Meanwhile, China's official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 54.6 in December from 56.0 in November due to a slowdown in the construction and service sectors, a report from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed, increasing risk aversion.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.39 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.18 percent.
The German DAX is gaining 0.14 percent, the French CAC 40 is adding 0.46 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is rising around 0.1 percent. Switzerland's SMI is losing 0.12 percent.
In Frankfurt, potash maker K+S is gaining 1.4 percent. Steel giant ThyssenKrupp is adding 1 percent while carmaker Daimler is advancing 0.9 percent.
However, Commerzbank is losing 1.5 percent and Merck is falling 1.3 percent.
In Paris, Renault is gaining 1.4 percent and Veolia Environnement is rising 1.2 percent.
Orange and Safran are gaining around 1 percent each.
Remy Cointreau is falling 2 percent after the resignation of its Chief Executive.
In London, Next is climbing close to 9 percent. The retailer reported a strong growth in sales for the first 2 months of the fourth quarter, and lifted its full-year forecast for profit. The firm also announced a special dividend.
Marks & Spencer is gaining 3.1 percent and Debenhams, which issued a profit warning earlier this week, is up 3.3 percent.
Barclays raised Schroders to ''Overweight'' from ''Underweight.'' The stock is up 1.7 percent.
Speedy Hire is up over 3 percent following a positive broker recommendation at Peel Hunt.
Miners Rio Tinto, Glencore Xstrata, Antofagasta and Anglo American are trading lower, reflecting the data from China.
Finmeccanica is up 1.2 percent in Milan. The company's AgustaWestland unit, whose orders for 12 VVIP/VIP helicopters were canceled by the Government of India, said it remains committed to working with the Government of India to resolve the issues.
The Asian stocks fell sharply as investors continued to take profits, despite some encouraging data out of Europe and the U.S.
In the U.S., futures point to a slightly higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, stocks kicked off the New Year in the red as traders cashed in on the recent strength in the markets.
Crude for February delivery is falling $0.17 to $95.27 per barrel, while gold is rising $6.1 to $1231.3 a troy ounce.
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