BRUSSELS (Alliance News) - European stocks continued to rally on Thursday, rising to their highest in more than two weeks amid encouraging economic news from both sides of the Atlantic.
Markit's Composite Purchasing Managers' Index of companies across the euro zone rose to 54.0 in July from 52.8, its highest since April.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that US initial jobless claims unexpectedly fell to their lowest level in over eight years in the week ended July 19th.
Initial jobless claims slid to 284,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week's revised level of 303,000.
Equities across Europe edged higher on the news, as investors again shrugged off worries about Russia's relationship with the West.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks rose 0.80% for a weekly gain of 1.95%.
Around Europe, the UK'sFTSE 100 added 0.34%, the German DAX picked up 0.42% and France's CAC 40 gathered 0.78%.
In Paris, oil services company Technip lost 8.6% after warning about mounting cost pressures.
Software AG rose in Frankfurt despite the business software firm posting lower second-quarter net income of 14.2 million euros, down from 28.8 million euros a year ago.
BASF Group declined 1.3% after the chemical giant reported second-quarter profit that fell short of analysts' expectations.
Unilever PLC missed second-quarter sales estimates due to a continued slowdown in emerging markets.
Roche added 0.65% after the Swiss drug maker confirmed its full-year outlook.
Telecommunications and wireless equipment maker Nokia Corp jumped 7% after reporting higher profits and raising its outlook for its core networks unit.