LONDON (TheDeal) -- European markets were looking a little stronger on Thursday, buoyed by the passage of reforms through the Greek parliament that allow detailed negotiations on the extension of the country's financial bailout. Some strong quarterly results, especially in continental Europe, also helped the mood.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 6,673.75, while in Paris, the CAC 40 was up 0.16% at 5,090.47. In Frankfurt, the DAX was up 0.18% at 11,541,43.
German lender Commerzbank (CRZBF) was up 0.5% at €12.08 on news that it has agreed to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Hanseatic Ship Asset Management to consortium of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR - Get Report) and shipping management company Borealis Maritime for $254 million. Hanseatic Ship controls a modern fleet of 18 container and dry cargo vessels. The business is held in the lender's bank and the sale is at a discount to book value, meaning Commerzbank will record a write down of €40 million ($44 million) in its quarterly accounts.
Earnings season is well under way, and earnings announcements from banking group Credit Suisse (CS - Get Report), car maker Daimler (DDAIF), and Anglo-Dutch consumer products group Unilever (UL) have all gone down well, as has a better than expected result from German chemicals company Lanxess (LNXSF).
In London, pharmaceuticals company Shire (SHPG) topped the FTSE 100 leaderboard, up 2.74% at 5,615 pence, ahead of a results announcement due at midday. Tech stocks such as chip maker ARM Holdings (ARMH) and Germany's Infineon Technologies (IFNNY) were recovering well after Wednesday's Apple (AAPL - Get Report)-related wobble.
However, Aberdeen Asset Management slumped 6.2% to 374.70 pence after conceding net outflows of £9.9 billion during the third quarter. It said institutional investors were continuing to reduce exposure to Asia and emerging markets equities.
Mothercare (MHCRF), a British maternity and baby-wear retailer, fell 7.84% to 264.5 pence, after announcing in its latest trading update that worldwide sales were down 3.2% in the 15 weeks to July 11, reflecting both U.K. store closures and "macro headwinds" in its international business. However, various strategic initiatives in the U.K. are showing some results, with like-for-like sales growth of 1.3% and online sales growth of 24%.
U.K. soft drink maker Britvic (BTVCF) was down 1.77% at 722 pence. Britvic announced the R$580 million ($180 million) acquisition of Brazil's Empresa Brasileira de Bebidas e Alimentos, and said it would raise about £90 million ($140 million) to help pay for the takeover. The company also said that third-quarter sales in its home market declined 0.8%, compared to last year, due to what it said was an adverse price mix. Global revenues were up 1.0% at £322.3 million
Daily Mail & General Trust fell 8.5% to 850 pence, as the newspaper publisher announced a decline in advertizing revenues of 6% in the three months to June 30.
In Switzerland, seeds and chemicals company Syngenta (SYT) was down 1.1% at Sfr399.20, under a renewed onslaught of criticism from its U.S. suitor Monsanto (MON), which said Syngenta did not have "a long-term vision or plan" that would create the same value as Monsanto's $45 billion offer. Syngenta's management has twice rejected the offer. Syngenta's net income for the first half of the year was down 12% at $1.22 billion -- but that was well ahead of market expectations.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up 0.44% at 20,683.94, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.46% at 25,398.85. In China, the Shanghai Composite continued its government-influenced recovery, closing up 2.43% at 4,123.92.