European stocks edged higher on Thursday, after the release of positive German manufacturing and service sector data, while investors still awaited reports for the entire euro zone.
During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.35%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.28%, while Germany’s DAX edged 0.16% higher.
Markit research group said that Germany's preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers' index slipped to 52.0 this month, from a reading of 52.4 in July, compared to expectations for a fall to 51.8.
Markit said that Germany's preliminary services PMI ticked down to 56.4 in August, from a reading of 56.7 last month, confounding expectations for a fall to 55.7.
Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) dropped 0.50% and 0.25%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) rose 0.22%.
Among peripheral lenders however, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) added 0.14% and 0.20% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) edged up 0.11% and 0.17%.
Elsewhere, Nobel Biocare (SIX:NOBN) surged 2.10% after the dental implant manufacturer raised its 2014 profit-margin forecast.
On the downside, Air Berlin (XETRA:AB1) dove 7.55% after posting a quarterly profit and saying it will reduce its capacity.
In London, FTSE 100 edged up 0.18%, led by Astrazeneca (LONDON:AZN), up 1.46%, amid reports that under new U.K. takeover rules Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) can make the first steps toward a renewed bid on August 26 August for the British drugmaker.
Pfizer had abandoned a £69.5 billion effort to buy London-based AstraZeneca on May 26. The U.S. company was also said to be looking at other possible targets, including Ireland's Actavis.
Meanwhile, mining stocks were broadly lower. Shares in Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) slipped 0.19% and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) declined 0.61%, while rivals Randgold Resources (LONDON:RRS) and Fresnillo (LONDON:FRES) tumbled 1.11% and 2.16% respectively.
In the financial sector, stocks were also mostly lower. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) inched down 0.06% and Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) fell 0.10%, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) slumped 0.29%. HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) overperformed however, adding 0.15%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.09% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.05% uptick, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.01% dip.
Later in the day, the euro zone was to publish preliminary data on private sector activity, while the U.S. was to produce data on unemployment claims, manufacturing activity and existing home sales.