PARIS (Alliance News) - Most European markets are trading higher on Friday, as investors look for bargain-hunting after several sessions of losses. The Asian stocks fell broadly as worries over Portugal's biggest bank stoked concerns about the underlying health of Europe's banking system.
Meanwhile, Portugal's central bank reassured investors that the solvency of embattled bank Banco Espirito Santo is "solid" and that it had taken steps to avoid contagion from Grupo Espirito Santo. Shares of Banco Espirito Santo were suspended yesterday after plunging more than 17%. The stock added 4% today.
In economic news, German inflation accelerated as estimated in June, while wholesale prices declined for the twelfth consecutive month, reports from Destatis showed.
Inflation, based on harmonized consumer prices, rose to 1% in June on a yearly basis, final data revealed. The rate came in line with flash estimate published on June 27 and follows a 0.6% rise in May.
The Bank of France reported that French current account deficit widened to 3.1 billion euros in May from 2.3 billion euros in April, with the goods trade deficit widening and services trade surplus declining.
The UK Office for National Statistics said UK construction output fell 1.1% month-over-month in May, belying expectations for a 0.9% increase. The annual growth of 3.5% also trailed expectations.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.35%, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major UK companies, is gaining 0.11%.
The German DAX is gaining 0.1%, the French CAC 40 is rising 0.5% and the UK'sFTSE 100 is advancing 0.21%. Switzerland's SMI is declining 0.2%.
In Frankfurt, Continental is gaining 1.7%. BMW and Volkswagen are moderately higher.
HeidelbergCement is losing 2.3%, thus leading the decliners.
UBS cuts Lufthansa to ''Neutral'' from ''Buy.'' The stock is down 1.4%.
In Paris, Accor is rising 2.4%, while Schneider Electric and Bouygues are adding around 2% each.
BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are rising 1.9% and 1.7%, respectively.
Cap Gemini is losing 2.2%. Its Indian peer Infosys Technologies reported higher first-quarter profit that topped expectations, but said employee attrition rates are worrisome and it is adopting measures to retain talent.
In London, Imperial Tobacco is climbing 3%. The company confirmed it is in discussions with Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard, Inc. to evaluate a possible acquisition of certain assets and brands owned by them. Reynolds is said to be nearing a deal to acquire smaller rival Lorillard.
Coca-Cola HBC is gaining around 3% and ITV is adding 2.7%.
Miners are bucking the trend. Randgold Resources is falling 3.2% and Fresnillo is losing 2.7%.
Antofagasta, Rio Tinto and Anglo American are falling between 1.8% and 1.1%.
Indesit is gaining 3% in Milan. US-based home appliances giant Whirlpool signed share purchase agreements with Fineldo SpA and the Merloni family to acquire a majority stake in the Italian home appliances maker for USD1.04 billion.
In the US, futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. Stocks fell modestly overnight, with rising bond yields, worries about Europe's banking system and mixed trade data out of China weighing on the markets. Solid jobless claims numbers helped to limit the downside to some extent. The Dow and the S&P 500 slid about 0.4% each, while the Nasdaq dropped half a percent.
Crude for August delivery is losing USD0.39 to USD102.54 per barrel, while gold is falling USD1.3 to USD1337.9 a troy ounce.