European Stocks Advance on Batch of Positive Earnings

LONDON (The Deal) -- European stock indices advanced on Wednesday as a rash of positive earnings reports and a rise in U.S. indices the day before eclipsed geopolitical worries, including the troubles in Gaza and Ukraine.

In London, the FTSE was up 0.25% at 6,812.26. In Frankfurt, the DAX gained 0.45% to 9,788.35, and the CAC in Paris  gained 0.41% to 4,387.85.

Daimler in Frankfurt, chemicals maker Akzo Nobel in Amsterdam, Alstom in Paris and outsourcing group Capital Group in London were among the companies to have published well-received earnings or sales bulletins.

Meanwhile, in London mining group BHP Billiton (BHP) edged up after rising in Sydney on delivering an annual roundup of output which showed total production increased 9% and the company's Western Australian iron ore unit produced more than expected.

Dassault Systemes in Paris got a boost as Credit Suisse Group analysts lifted their recommendation on the software maker to outperform from neutral.

In Lisbon, Banco Espirito Santo shares were up almost 8% on news that Goldman Sachs (GS) and D.E. Shaw & Co. LP had bought shares in the bank earlier this month. Banco Espirito Santo has hired Deutsche Bank to advise it on the balance sheet fallout of troubles at the wider Espirito Santo group of companies. On Tuesday, a Luxembourg court accepted the creditor protection filing of Espirito Santo International SA and another Espirito Santo entity, Rio Forte Investments SA, also filed for creditor protection.

In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank (DB) rebounded from early losses on fears it would become the latest European bank to feel the strong arm of U.S. regulators. The Wall Street Journal said a Federal Reserve Bank of New York review found "inaccurate and unreliable" reports from its U.S. businesses last year. The stock was up almost 2% by late morning.

But in Zurich, engineering company ABB fell after saying second-quarter Ebitda plunged 15% to $1.33 billion because of a loss in its power systems unit. Revenue was flat but orders rose 13% year-on-year.

Minutes from the Bank of England's last meeting showed policymakers had voted unanimously in favor of keeping rates unchanged 0.5%, where they have been for more than five years. But the minutes noted that "for some members the decision had become more balanced in the past few months than earlier in the year." Policymakers discussed pockets of economic weakness during the meeting, and expressed concern about low wage growth.

A European Commission report on July consumer confidence, out at 3 p.m. London time, could influence the shape of afternoon trading.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed up 0.80% at 23,971.87, and in Tokyo the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.10% at 15,328.56.

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