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European stocks rise ahead of data, Italy concerns ease; Dax up 0.79%

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Shutterstock photo - European stocks were higher on Thursday, as investor confidence strengthened after a positive Italian government bond auction outweighed concerns over the political deadlock in the country.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.58%, France's CAC 40 gained 0.60%, while Germany's DAX 30 advanced 0.79%.

Sentiment improved after Italy successfully auctioned the full targeted amount of EUR6.5 billion of five and 10-year bonds on Wednesday, easing investor concerns that the political impasse could rekindle the crisis in the euro zone.

However, the growing likelihood of fresh elections in Italy continued to weigh, as hopes that a coalition government could be formed faded.

Separately, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reiterated Wednesday that it is up to European governments to resolve the crisis in the region through economic reforms and restoring financial stability.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale climbed 0.60% and 1.44%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank advanced 0.37% and 0.87% respectively.

Meanwhile, peripheral lenders were mixed, with Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA rising 0.35% and 0.41%, while Italy's Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo declined 0.31% and 0.48%.

Elsewhere, Deutsche Telekom tumbled 1.26% after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that missed analysts' estimates.

In London, FTSE 100 climbed 0.48%, supported by strong gains in the financial sector.

Shares in Barclays advanced 0.71% and HSBC Holdings jumped 1.14%, while Lloyds Banking rallied 1.66%. The Royal Bank of Scotland underperformed on the other hand, plummeting 2.52%.

In the mining sector, stocks were mostly lower, with Rio Tinto slipping 0.20%, while copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys retreated 0.35% and 4.35%

Oil and gas major Anglo American added to losses, as shares dropped 0.44%, as did Petrofac, a provider of integrated facilities services to the oil, gas and energy production and processing industries, down 1.70%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.12% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.13% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.15% rise.

Later in the day, the euro zone was to release data on consumer inflation, while Germany was to publish data on consumer prices and employment change.

The U.S. was to release revised data on fourth quarter growth and the weekly report on initial jobless claims. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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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