European Shares Firm After Mixed US Data


European stocks firmed after mixed U.S. data.

Productivity accelerated to a 0.9% annual rate in Q2 following two quarters of declines, the Labor Department estimated. Economists were expecting productivity to increase 0.7%.

However, housing starts rose 5.9% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected overall housing starts in July to hit an annual rate of 915,000.

Consumer sentiment also unexpectedly declined in August. The preliminary reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index fell to 80 from 85.1 in July, missing the 85.2 median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Around the region, the eurozone's current account dropped to 16.9 billion euros ($22.45 billion) after May's downwardly revised EUR19.5 billion. The data are adjusted for seasonal effects and take into account the number of working days each month.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, exports in June rose 3.0% from May, while imports were up by 2.5%, the strongest rise since January.

In ADR news, Royal Bank of Scotland ( RBS ) is cut to sell from hold at Investec Plc, which said its forecast for no improvement in RBS' return on equity this year means that its valuation will probably not rise further.

STMicroelectronics NV ( STM ) was lowered to underweight from neutral at HSBC. Analysts said increasing price pressure and a soft smartphone market is hurting its MEMs (micro electro mechanical system) chips business.

The FTSE-100 was last up 0.26% at 6,499.99, the DAX up 0.19% at 8,391.94 and the CAC-40 up 0.75% at 4,123.89.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: RBS , STM

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