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Market Update

European Markets Open Higher

European markets were trading flat to slightly higher Thursday with some earnings in focus and after comments from the European Central Bank spurred hopes of a rate cut.

The FTSE 100 was little changed at 7:47 a.m. London time, but the CAC 40 Paris and DAX Frankfurt edged up 0.5% and 0.2% respectively.

Investors were hopeful interest rates would be lowered in the near-term after ECB governing council member Jens Weidmann said Wednesday that the bank would slash interest rates if economic data from the region was supportive.

Some corporate results were also in focus.

Stocks on the move

French retail giant Carrefour SA dropped 0.9% after posting a drop in sales for the first quarter.

London-based drinks company Diageo Plc. also declined a percent despite posting a 4% rise in third-quarter sales as it warned of weakening demand in key emerging markets.

Also in London, SABMiller Plc. said group revenue for the full year ended March 31 grew 7% at constant currencies. Shares of the brewing giant were slipped 0.3%, nevertheless.

Meanwhile Nestle SA dropped 1.8% after it posted a worse-than-expected 5.4% rise in first-quarter sales amid sluggish demand in developed markets.

Financial stocks were broadly in the green across the region. Societe Generale and BNP Paribas added 0.5% and 1.6% respectively in France while German lender Deutsche Bank was up 0.1%.