European Shares Mostly Higher Ahead Of BoE Update

European stocks were flat to slightly higher on Thursday as investors digested a slew of mixed earnings updates and awaited a key monetary policy update from the Bank of England for direction.

The central bank is not likely to make any policy changes but looks set to raise its inflation forecasts as surging prices worldwide pose a threat to economic recovery.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index edged up 0.3 percent to 469.82 after gaining 0.6 percent on Wednesday. The German DAX inched up 0.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 index rose half a percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was little changed.

Swisscom gained more than 2 percent after the telecommunications company raised its earnings guidance for 2021.

German automation company Siemens jumped 3.2 percent after raising profit guidance for the third time this year.

Continental AG lost 2.3 percent as the automotive supplier cut its growth forecast for the production of passenger and light commercial vehicles in 2021.

Drug maker Bayer slumped 5 percent as it reported a second-quarter loss and announced a deal to buy U.S. biotech company Vividion Therapeutics Inc. for as much as $2 billion.

Sportswear maker Adidas plunged 4.1 percent despite the company raising its outlook for full-year sales and profitability.

Online fashion retailer Zalando plummeted 8.7 percent. After reporting a 34 percent rise in second-quarter sales, the company said it expects 2021 operating profit to come in at the upper end of its forecast range.

Credit Agricole shares were down 1.2 percent. The French lender said its second-quarter net income more than doubled from the same period last year as provisions declined reflecting an improving economy.

Glencore fell about 1 percent in London. The commodity trading and mining company raised expectations for its trading division, but lowered full-year guidance for nickel and coal, citing output disruptions.

Gold mining company Centamin tumbled 3 percent after its net profit for the first half of the year fell 20 percent, reflecting weaker gold production and higher unitary costs.

Real estate investment trust company Hammerson declined 1.8 percent after releasing mixed half-year results.

WPP rallied 2.3 percent. The advertising group said its revenues had returned to pre-pandemic levels a year sooner than it had expected.

Paper and packaging group Mondi jumped 2.5 percent after reporting a stable set of results for the first half.

Troubled engineering group Rolls Royce Holdings soared 3.7 percent after it moved back into the black in the first half of the year.

In economic releases, data showed German factory orders grew more than expected in June, underpinned by strong domestic demand.

Factory orders advanced 4.1 percent month-on-month in June, reversing a 3.2 percent fall in May, Destatis reported.

On a yearly basis, manufacturing orders advanced sharply by 26.2 percent, but down from 54.9 percent in May.

The recovery in U.K. construction output lost momentum in July with slower growth seen in all three main categories of work, survey results from IHS Markit showed.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 58.7 in July from June’s 24-year high of 66.3. The reading was forecast to fall to 64.0.

The latest reading signaled the slowest overall increase in construction output since February.

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