(RTTNews.com) - The European markets ended Thursday's session with modest gains. The markets got off to a positive start after yesterday's meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. However, the markets remained stuck in a sideways pattern for much of the day.
Trump and Juncker have agreed to work for zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto goods. They also agreed to increase trade in services and agriculture, including greater U.S. soybean exports to the EU.
The European Central Bank left its interest rates unchanged on Thursday and maintained the forward guidance on monetary stimulus, following the Governing Council's June decision to halve the monthly asset purchases after September, and to eventually end them in December.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the euro area economic recovery is proceeding along its solid and broad-based path despite prominent uncertainties linked to the global trade.
"The underlying strength of the economy confirms our confidence that the sustained convergence of inflation to our aim will continue in the period ahead and will be maintained even after a gradual winding-down of our net asset purchases," Draghi said in the introductory statement to his customary post-decision press conference on Thursday.
"Nevertheless, significant monetary policy stimulus is still needed to support the further build-up of domestic price pressures and headline inflation developments over the medium term."
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.87 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased 1.17 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 1.07 percent.
The DAX of Germany climbed 1.83 percent and the CAC of France rose 1.00 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.06 percent, but the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 1.33 percent.
In Frankfurt, Daimler gained 2.90 percent despite reporting a fall in its second-quarter net profit.
In Paris, eye-care firm Essilor advanced 2.46 percent. The company confirmed its FY18 view and said it is making progress in the completion of its merger with Italian peer Luxottica.
Airplane manufacturer Airbus soared 4.50 percent after its Q2 core profit doubled.
Accor dropped 1.21 percent on saying it has abandoned plans to pick up a minority stake in struggling French carrier Air France-KLM.
Retailer Casino Group sank 8.86 percent. The company confirmed its financial goals after reporting a loss during the first half that narrowed from last year.
In London, Cobham tumbled 9.88 percent after the military and civil systems provider issued progress update regarding the US KC-46 Tanker Program.
GlaxoSmithKline lost 0.33 percent. The company is acquiring a $300 million stake in genetic-testing company 23andMe Inc.
British American Tobacco rallied 5.13 percent after its first-half revenue jumped 57 percent despite slowing growth in Japan for tobacco-heated products.
Specialty chemicals maker Johnson Matthey rose 0.38 percent after delivering fist-quarter sales in line with its expectations.
Smith & Nephew climbed 2.99 percent after confirming its full-year guidance.
Nestle rallied 1.85 percent in Zurich after reporting a rise in first-half profit and confirming its FY18 outlook.
Nokia dropped 4.78 percent in Helsinki after it posted a loss in the Q2 that narrowed from last year.
Germany's consumer confidence is set to weaken slightly in August, survey data from market research group GfK showed Thursday. The forward-looking consumer sentiment index fell to 10.6 in August from 10.7 in July. The score was forecast to remain unchanged at 10.7.
French consumer confidence remained stable in July, survey data from the statistical office Insee showed Thursday. The consumer sentiment index held steady at 97 in July. The indicator remained below its long-term average of 100 for the third consecutive month.
First-time claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. showed a modest increase in the week ended July 21st, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims rose to 217,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level of 208,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 215,000 from the 207,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed a notable increase in new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in the month of June. The Commerce Department said durable goods orders jumped by 1.0 percent in June after falling by a revised 0.3 percent in May. Economists had expected durable goods orders to spike by 3.0 percent.
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