-Survey reveals strong results in manufacturing
-ECB loans more stress tests for European banks
-Nokia announces dividend cut and decline in sales
FTSE Mibtel 30: 1.01%
IBEX 35: 0.45%
Stoxx 600: 0.21%
European equities edged higher at close Thursday as investors regained confidence in the markets.
Perhaps reassuring investors was a survey which revealed Chinese manufacturing expanded at the fastest rate in two years. The research, by Markit and HSBC, said a preliminary reading of their purchasing managers' index rose to 51.9 in January, from 51.5 in December.
A separate survey showed that Germany, Europe's biggest lender, was on its way to regaining its stronghold. The report noted Germany's economy was picking up in contrast to the next-largest European economy, France, where business activity fell.
A monthly gauge of activity in the Eurozone manufacturing and services industries climbed to 48.2 in January, better than forecasts.
Banks in the spotlight
The European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) are planning a new round of stress tests for European banks.
The EBA already announced last year that it expected to carry out a review for 2013 and Austria's Financial Markets Authority (FMA) repeated that "there will be a stress test this year from the EBA. That is the current status of the decision."
The FMA said details were still under discussion but sources told Reuters that the new tests could be carried out jointly between the EBA and the ECB in September.
Spanish banking group Banco Sabadell reported profits for 2012 despite showing a significant charge for provisions. The lender said its attributed net earnings fell by 64.7% to €81.9m in 2012 as a result of a charge of €2.54bn, comprising write-downs and provisions for its securities and real estate portfolio. The provisions were 142.2% higher than in 2011.
Barclays was forced to identify senior staff linked to investigation into rate fixing, a British court heard Thursday. Former Barclays Chief Executive Officers Bob Diamond and John Varley were among the group of 104 of those named in connection to the case, despite requests for anonymity.
On the same day reports said the bank would slash at least 70 jobs in Asian investment banking as part of a global strategic review started by new boss Antony Jenkins. As many as 2,000 jobs could be on the chopping board within the investment bank in early 2013.
Nokia falls on dividend axe
Nokia fell 5.25% after the Finnish phone maker said it would axe its dividend for the first time in at least 20 years to shore up cash to foot the bill of falling sales.
easyJet soared 5.09% after posting a 9.2% hike in total revenues for the first quarter ending December 31st.
Croda International climbed 3.3% after JP Morgan Chase & Co reiterated its 'overweight' rating on the stock and said the chemical maker would please investors in its full-year 2012 earnings in February.
Monte Paschi tumbled 7.7% after Italy's central bank said it would review documents covering financial transactions that it hid from its regulators.
The euro/dollar rose by 0.43% to the 1.3375 dollar
Front month Brent crude futures jumped 0.687 to the 113.570 dollar mark on the ICE.