Equities trade higher towards US open

European equity markets drifted lower in early trading, but have now moved into positive territory.

The less-than-impressive industrial production figures from the eurozone gave traders a reason to sell. Brussels revealed that industrial production for the region dropped by 1.5% in July 2013 compared with the same month last year. In addition, the level of unemployment in Greece ticked up to 27.9% in June, from a rate of 27.6% in May. Youth unemployment is just shy of 58.8%, and these reports highlight the problems the region is still facing.

Mark Carney said today the Bank of England's stimulus package is ‘working’, and that he is on track to achieve the UK inflation target of 2%. His comments come a day after confirmation that the UK's unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%.

In corporate news, Morrisons reported 21% drop in first-half pre-tax profit, while turnover was flat. These figures were broadly in line with expectations, and the stock is up 2.6%. Next announced a 7.2% rise in half-year operating profit and a 16% boost in dividend, and is up 0.2%.

In the US, the Dow Jones is up ten points at 15,336. The US reported a drop of 31,000 in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit, which is a positive sign, although the report is not complete because two states were not included in the data.

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