Forexpros –
Forexpros – European stocks extended gains during European afternoon trade on Thursday, as shares in finish phone-maker Nokia rallied more than 15% on the back of earning that were not as bad as feared.

At the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.68%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.77%, while Germany’s DAX 30 jumped 1.02%.

Hurting equity sentiment, U.S. existing home sales fell unexpectedly in June, underlining concerns over the health of the U.S. housing sector, industry data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales fell by 5.4% to a seasonally adjusted 4.37 million units in June, defying expectations for a modest increase to 4.63 million units.

Existing home sales in May totaled 4.62 million units, upwardly revised from a previously reported 4.55 million units.

Nokia saw shares surge 15.3% after reporting second quarter sales fell 19% from a year ago to EUR7.5 billion, beating expectations for a decline to EUR7.3 billion.

Sales of its flagship Lumia smartphone totaled 4 million in the March-to-June period.

Shares in Spanish lenders were mildly higher, as investors were looking ahead to a German vote on approving the country’s part in an aid package for Spanish banks later in the day.

Earlier Thursday, Spain saw demand weaken and borrowing costs rise sharply at an auction of two, five and seven-year government bonds, fuelling fears that the country could be locked out of international credit markets.

Following the auction the yield on the country’s 10-year bonds was at 7.02%, breaching the critical 7% threshold, widely viewed as unsustainable in the long run.

Shares in BBVA were 0.8% higher, while Banco Santander eased up 0.3%.

Shares in French automakers were broadly higher, continuing to recover from a recent run of losses. Peugeot shares rallied 6.4%, while Renault gained 3.6%.

Elsewhere, in London, the FTSE 100 gained 0.40%. Official data released earlier in the day showed that retail rose less-than-expected in June, inching up 0.1%, below expectations for a 0.6% gain, as wet weather hurt demand for outdoor products.

Shares in lenders led the FTSE higher, with Royal Bank of Scotland shares climbing 2.4%, Lloyds Banking Group adding 1.65% and Barclays up 1.55%.

Global miners were higher as well, with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rising 1% apiece.

On the downside, Kingfisher saw shares drop 1.45% after reporting a drop in same-store sales, citing the weather for poor sales.
Pressuring shares manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia-region in July contracted for the third consecutive month in July, adding to concerns over the pace of the U.S. economic recovery, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index improved by 3.7 points to minus 12.9 in July from June’s reading of minus 16.6.

Analysts had expected the index to improve by 8.6 points to a reading of minus 8.0 in July.

On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions.

In the U.S., equities traded higher, as market sentiment was boosted by a strong start to the U.S. earnings season, despite weak economic numbers.

The Dow followed higher by 0.12%, S&P 500 climbed 0.26%, while the Nasdaq gained 0.81% in midsession trade.

Traders are awaiting the Canadian core CPI on Friday.