- Weak manufacturing survey data
- IS commanders retreat into Syria
- Stocks grind higher
FTSE Mibtel 30: 1.43%
Ibex 35: 0.97%
Stoxx 600: 0.41%
The main European equity indices brushed off weaker than expected reading on the Eurozone's and China's manufacturing sectors and slowly ground higher ahead of tomorrow's economics symposium Stateside, at Jackson Hole.
The above transpired despite the more hawkish than expected set of US Federal Reserve minutes overnight and weak Chinese manufacturing sector surveys out on Thursday morning.
The Eurozone manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the month of August came in at 50.8 from 51.8 in the month before (consensus: 51.3) - a 13-month low.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, highlighted the fact that on the basis of current readings the single currency area's economy is on course to grow by between only 0.3% to 0.4% over the third quarter, which is unlikely to lead to any improvement in the labour market.
"The muted rate of expansion and stalling labour market recovery will keep already-watchful eyes on the ECB for any signals that the ground is being softened for further supportive measures. However, it is most likely that policymakers will allow recent stimulus efforts to have a greater chance to filter through to the real economy before making any further moves," Dobson added.
Acting as a backdrop, the HSBC/Markit 'flash' Chinese PMI slipped to 50.3 in August from July's 18-month high of 51.7, well below the 51.5 forecast by economists.
Switzerland's trade balance improved to 3.98bn Swiss francs in July, from 1.41bn francs in the month before (consensus: 1.85bn francs).
On the geopolitical front, The Wall Street Journal Europe reported that some ground commanders of the militant group Islamic State had retreated back into Syria.
Operating profits weaker at Ahold
Dutch supermarket giant Ahold saw weaker-than-expected operating profits in the second quarter, with sales coming off in the United States and the Netherlands.
German broadcaster RTL Group slashed its 2014 outlook on Thursday.
From a sector standpoint in the early going the best performance was being seen in the following industrial groups within the DJ Stoxx 600:
Construction&Materials (1.10%), Banks (0.81%) and Automobiles&Parts (0.66%).
Crude futures slip in the wake of economic data
Euro/dollar is bouncing back slightly, edging higher by 0.03% to 1.326.
Front month Brent crude futures are slipping 0.87% to 101.40.