European stocks were mostly higher on Thursday even as U.K. markets fell for a second consecutive session, tracking further gains in the pound amid signs of progress on the EU’s key Brexit issues, including the Irish border.
While a selloff in technology stocks subsided, the day’s economic reports painted a mostly positive picture of regional economies.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.4 percent at 389.30 in late opening deals after rising 0.2 percent in the previous session.
The German DAX was rising 0.6 percent and France’s CAC 40 index was moving up 0.4 percent while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was declining 0.2 percent.
Lenders Commerzbank and Credit Agricole rose about 1 percent each after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that the Fed expects to continue raising interest rates gradually.
Swiss lender Credit Suisse jumped 2.7 percent after it unveiled plans to boost shareholder returns as part of its annual investor day.
Tech shares were mostly higher, with ASM International and Dialog Semiconductor rising about half a percent each.
Energy major Tullow Oil rose over 2 percent as oil edged up ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna to discuss prolonging output cuts beyond March.
French carmaker Peugeot climbed 2.3 percent after reports that its parent company PSA Group is seeking to recover 600 million euros from General Motors in relation to its acquisition of Opel.
Aviva rallied 2 percent after the insurance giant upgraded its targets for earnings growth, cash and dividend at a conference for investors and analysts.
Exchange operator Euronext climbed almost 4 percent after acquiring the Irish Stock Exchange for 137 million euros.
Daily Mail and General Trust shares fell as much as 24 percent after the company reported a 2017 loss and warned that next year’s advertising revenues could be adversely affected by recent disposals and challenging conditions.
In economic releases, German inflation accelerated more than anticipated in November and the unemployment total fell more than expected while retail sales marked the first fall in eight months in October, separate reports showed.
French inflation rose slightly to 1.2 percent in November from 1.1 percent in October, flash data from statistical office Insee showed. The rate matched economists’ expectations.
Eurozone consumer price inflation advanced 1.5 percent year-on-year in November, following October’s 1.4 percent increase, while the region’s jobless rate fell to the lowest since early 2009.