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European Stocks Extend Gains as Financial Services Stocks Gain Traction

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European equity benchmarks were extending gains on Thursday as financial services stocks edged higher against a backdrop of rising oil prices and mixed earnings results.

In equities, health care company Shire (SHP.L) was leading the gainers on London's FTSE 100 Index, up by 2.6%, followed by supermarket operator Tesco (TSCO.L), up by 2.2% and Prudential (PRU.L), a provider of financial services, 1.8% higher. Copper mining major Antofagasta (ANTO.L) was 1.5% higher.

On Frankfurt's DAX, automobile manufacturer Volkswagen (VOW.DE) was 2.4% higher, airline operator Lufthansa (LHA.DE) was 2.1% higher after posting double-digit growth in its 2017 earnings per share which matched analysts' estimates and reinsurance and insurance majors, Muenchener RueckversicherungsGesellschaft (MUV2) and Allianz (ALV.DE), were 1.2% and 0.8% higher, respectively.

And, on Paris' CAC-40, health care company Sanofi (SAN.PA) was 1.4% higher, automotive supplier Valeo (FR.PA) was up by the same amount and media company Vivendi (VIV.PA) was 1.2% higher. STMicroelectronics (STM.PA), a manufacturer of semiconductors, was 0.9% higher.

Oil prices were higher, the morning after government data showed a larger-than-expected increase in US inventories of crude oil. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the main US oil benchmark, was 0.6% at $61.33 per barrel in recent trade while Brent crude, the international gauge, was 0.4% higher at $65.15 per barrel.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index was 0.03% lower, London's FTSE 100 Index was up by 0.10%, Frankfurt's DAX was up by 0.15% and Paris' CAC-40 was 0.17% higher at the time of writing.

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

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

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