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Lufthansa leads the Frankfurt benchmark higher, with Deutsche Bank just behind on talk of Qatar support for a fundraising.
Germany's Lufthansa said it expects better full-year profits as investors prepare for third-quarter earnings from American Airlines.
European stock markets are modestly higher in the Thursday session ahead of a key policy meeting at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.
With U.S. stocks sliding for the third straight day, European shares gave back early gains to close in the red.