Stocks hold gains

European equity markets maintain their gains as overall economic and corporate updates are positive.

In early morning trading the London equity benchmark touched the 6600 mark. It hasn’t managed to reach that level again since, but is still in positive territory.

The Italian government held a successful ten-year bond auction, and the cost of borrowing declined from 4.55% to 4.46%. This indicates that investors are increasingly confident in the Italian government’s ability to repay their debts.

We had other positive news from Europe when the eurozone announced an increase in retail purchasing managers index (PMI) from 49.1 in June to 49.5 in July. This shows that the sector is still in contraction but is at least moving in the right direction.

ITV announced a 16% rise in pre-tax profits for the first half of 2013, and an 11% rise in advertising revenue boosted profits. The share price is up 5.5% at 165p, a 12-year high.

GKN announced a 12% increase in first half revenues and the company expects a strong second half. The stock is up 7.5%.

In the US we are expecting the Dow to open 60 points higher at 15,581, as the Case Schiller house price index came in just below estimates which could keep quantitative easing in place for the time being.

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