PARIS (Alliance News) - Most European markets are trading just above the flat line on Thursday, following firm cues from Asia and Wall Street overnight, amid hectic activity on the M&A front.
A report released by the Commerce Department showed Wednesday that economic activity in the US decreased by much more than previously estimated in the first quarter.
Investors placed hopes on a rebound in the second quarter, while the data also gave rise to optimism that the Fed will not be prompted to take tough measures sooner.
Meanwhile, French consumer confidence improved in June as general economic expectations and personal financial situation outlook strengthened from the prior month, survey data from the statistical office Insee showed.
Consumer sentiment rose slightly to 86 in June, when it was forecast to remain unchanged at 85.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.09%, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major UK companies, is falling 0.13%.
While Switzerland's SMI is down modestly, the German DAX, the French CAC 40 and the UK'sFTSE 100 are marginally higher.
In Frankfurt, Dialog Semiconductor is gaining 5%. The company is in preliminary talks with AMS AG about a possible merger of equals. AMS is gaining 4% in Zurich.
Fresenius Medical Care is gaining 3.1% and Lufthansa is up 1.8%.
K+S is losing 2.1%. Adidas and Henkel are falling 1.7% and 1.4%, respectively.
In Paris, Danone is climbing 3%. Lafarge is moderately higher after JPMorgan raised the stock to ''Analyst Focus List.''
Peugeot is gaining 2.3%. The car maker said all its six labor unions signed an agreement to enhance measures taken under the Jobs and Skills Alignment System.
Vallourec and Michelin are notably lower.
In London, London Stock Exchange Group is surging 7% after the company announced the USD2.7 billion offer for US asset manager Frank Russell Co.
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is rising 7% after the online gambling company confirmed that there are no plans to break-up or sell the company.
Barclays is losing 5.3%. The lender has been sued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for its alleged involvement in fraudulent activity related to a trading venue known as "dark pool."
Standard Chartered is losing 4.5%. The lender expects lower profit for its first half and fiscal 2014.
Ophir Energy said drilling operations have concluded on the Okala-1 well in the Mbeli Block offshore Gabon and that there were no significant hydrocarbon shows in the target reservoirs. The stock is down 4%.
The Asian stocks rose broadly, as investors shrugged off weak US GDP data, betting that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates lower for longer than initially thought.
In the US, futures point to a lower open on Wall Street. In the previous session, stocks rose for the first time in three days as pharmaceutical stocks rallied and broadcasters got a lift from a Supreme Court ruling. The Dow rose 0.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.7%, while the S&P 500 added half a percent.
Crude for August delivery is falling USD0.19 to USD106.31 per barrel, while gold is losing USD12.0 to USD1310.6 a troy ounce.