(RTTNews.com) - European stocks were flat to slightly higher on Thursday as investors digested a slew of earnings reports and looked ahead to the 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG).
Warning of rising threats to world financial system, the IMF said that markets are exposed to a sharp tightening in financial conditions, which could lead to a sudden unwinding of risk premiums and a repricing of risky assets.
In economic releases, the euro area current account surplus declined in February, the European Central Bank said. The current account surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted 35.1 billion euros in February from 39 billion euros in January.
The pound slipped for a third day after official data showed that U.K. retail sales including auto fuel, dropped 1.2 percent month-on-month in March, in contrast to a 0.8 percent rise in February. Sales were forecast to fall 0.6 percent.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was marginally higher at 381.95 in late opening deals after rising 0.3 percent the previous day.
The German DAX was little changed, while France's CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 were up around 0.2 percent each.
Swiss engineering firm ABB jumped 5 percent after its Q1 profit topped forecasts.
Drug major Novartis dropped 2 percent after a sharp slump in sales by its U.S. generics unit.
Nutrition, health and wellness giant Nestle rose half a percent after confirming its 2018 guidance.
Unilever dropped 1.6 percent after its Q1 revenue fell over 5 percent due to adverse currency movements.
A surge in metals prices after Russian sanctions helped lift miners, with BHP Billiton, Glencore and Anglo American rising between 0.2 percent and 0.7 percent.
Department store group Debenhams dropped more than 2 percent. The company lowered expectations for annual profits after reporting another slide in sales and profits.
Engineering firm Weir Group jumped 5.5 percent. The company has unveiled plans to acquire U.S. competitor Esco Corp. after reporting Q1 revenues in line with expectations.
Acacia Mining plunged 8.5 percent after its first-quarter revenue fell 33 percent.
French advertising group Publicis soared nearly 8 percent after its Q1 revenue growth topped forecasts.
Schneider Electric rallied 2 percent after reaffirming its FY objectives.
Germany'sMorphoSys declined 1.3 percent after announcing the pricing of its American Depository shares.
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