European Stocks Modestly Firmer Tracking Positive U.S. Economic Data - Pharma, Energy Lead Gainers
European stocks continue modest gains in holiday-thinned mid-day trading, buoyed by energy and drug stocks such as BP PLC and Roche Holdings, respectively.
The pan-nation Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 1.84% to 241.62, after closing up 1% in yesterday's session.
Stocks in Asia rose and U.S. stocks are also higher.
Investor sentiment is brightened by a slew of positive U.S. economic data releases: November durable-goods orders rose 3.8%, the highest since July; new U.S. home sales in November rose 315,000 led by growth in the South and Midwest; personal income and consumer spending rose 0.1% in November, though disposable personal income remained flat. These results, as well as Thursday's reports that showed a continuing downward trend for jobless claims and a rise in consumer sentiment, indicate modest support for recovery.
Europe's debt situation continues to share the spotlight. On Thursday, Italy's Senate gave final approval to a $40 billion emergency austerity and growth package after a lengthy debate, according to media reports. Prime Minister Mario Monti had called for a confidence vote on the measures.
The FTSE Italy MIB index rose 0.31% to 15,073.99.
The U.K. FTSE 100 index rose 1.02% to 5,512.70. The French CAC-40 rose 0.99% to 3,102.09. The German DAX 30 is up 0.46% at 5,879.
Gains for Swiss firm Roche are lifting pharma shares overall. Roche, up 0.69%, said its ovarian-cancer drug, Avastin, won European Union clearance for treatment of women with a newly diagnosed advanced case of the disease.
Energy-related stocks rose, with BP up 2.09% in London and Total SA up 2.13% in Paris.
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