Forex Pros - European stock markets were broadly higher on Thursday, as solid earnings from Air France boosted airliners, while firm commodity prices supported shares in the commodity sector.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.5%, France's CAC 40 jumped 0.45%, while Germany's DAX 30 was up 0.9%.
Europe's largest airliner Air France-KLM saw shares jump 2% after it posted its first annual profit in three years, as cost cuts and increased demand for travel outweighed higher fuel expenses.
The company had an operating profit of EUR122 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, compared to a EUR1.29 billion loss a year earlier.
The results helped lift Deutsche Lufthansa and Ryanair Holdings, which rose 1.1% and 1.3% respectively.
On the downside, shares in Swiss luxury goods producer Richemont tumbled 4.9% after it said annual profit in the year ended March 31 totaled EUR1.09 billion, falling short of expectations for profit of EUR1.19 billion.
In London, the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 climbed 0.65% as shares in the world's largest commodities trader Glencore International added 3% on its first day of trading on the FTSE after it sold USD10 billion of stock in an initial public offering.
Firm metal and oil prices supported commodity-linked shares. Mining giant Rio Tinto climbed 1.15%, rival BHP Billiton rose 1%, while oil major British Petroleum gained 1.4% after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch recommended buying the stock.
Meanwhile, shares in the retail sector were boosted after official data showed that U.K. retail sales rose more-than-expected in April. NEXT saw shares climb 0.75%, while Tesco added 0.5%.
The outlook for U.S. equity markets, meanwhile, was modestly downbeat ahead of earnings reports from department store retailer Sears and from clothing retailer GAP.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to decline of 0.05%, S&P 500 futures edged 0.04% lower, while the Nasdaq 100 futures shed 0.1%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish its weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as industry data on existing home sales and official data on manufacturing activity in Philadelphia.