European Stock Benchmarks Rise; Repsol Gains on Earnings

European stock benchmarks made modest gains on Thursday as oil prices rose and Spain's Repsol (REPYY) became the latest in a parade of oil producers to report well-received quarterly numbers.

In London, the FTSE 100 was recently up 0.43% 6,138.39. In Frankfurt, the Dax rose 0.29% to 9856.90. And in Paris the Cac 40 gained 0.10% to 4,328.56 Both Germany and France have a public holiday today, though stock exchanges are open.

Brent crude was recently up 2.67% at $45.81 per barrel.

S&P 500 mini futures were recently up 0.38%.

In Madrid, Repsol jumped well over 4% after announcing its upstream unit had swung into the black in the first quarter thanks to cost cuts and other reorganization measures. The company's quarterly Ebitda on a current cost of supplies basis rose 6% to €1.24 billion ($1.42 billion). The report followed good news on earnings from BP (BP) and Total (TOT) last week. Among other oil sector gainers on Thursday Tullow Oil (TUWOY) jumped more than 6% in London.

Also in London telecom BT (BT) rose more than 3% after reporting an above-forecast 6% rise in Ebitda, strong growth in TV subscriber numbers and a plan to increase the dividend by 10% this year and next.

Utility Centrica (CPYYF) (CPYYY) , the parent of Direct Energy, plunged more than 7% after announcing plans to issue shares equivalent to 7% of its share capital to pay for two acquisitions. Based on yesterday's closing price the share issue would be worth £808.9 million ($1.17 billion).

Hip-replacement-devices maker Smith & Nephew slipped about 1.4% after noting weak demand in China, and in the oil-revenue-dependent Gulf states. Overall underlying revenue in the first quarter came in at just under $1.14 billion, up 4%.

Satellite company Inmarsat fell close to 5% as it cut its full-year revenue forecast as it announced quarterly earnings.

Restructuring engines maker Rolls-Royce (RYCEY) (RYCEF) plunged more than 6% in London after a statement ahead of its annual shareholders' meeting that noted that 2016 continues to be a "challenging year overall."

In Asia, where Tokyo remained closed on the last of a three-day public holiday, markets had largely recovered by the end of trading from initial losses after Caixin/Markit Economics purchasing managers' indices for China showed growth had slowed in April. Data for the Chinese services sector came in below expectations, with the index slipping more than expected to 51.8 from 52.2 in March.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed down 0.20% at 20,485.44. On mainland China, the CSI 300 composite index closed up 0.14% at 3,213.92.

In Sydney, the S&P ASX 200 gained 0.15% to 5,279.06.

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