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Market Update

European Markets Gain; Data, Earnings in Focus

European stocks opened higher Wednesday after positive German data and some upbeat corporate results boosted sentiment.

Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.7% at 8:49 a.m. London time, France's CAC 40 Paris also added 0.7% while Germany's DAX Frankfurt rose 0.6%.

Data released by Markit Research Group showed Germany's manufacturing purchasing managers' index climbed to 50.3 during July, up from 48.6 in the previous month.

The reading came above the crucial 50-mark for the first time since February and also topped analyts estimates for a rise of 49.2. A reading above 50 indicates contraction in economic activity and vice-versa.

Also, the country's service sector PMI increased more than expected to 52.5 this month, from 50.4 in June.

Stocks on the Move

Some corporate earnings were in focus. In London, ARM Holding Plc. bounced 3.5% despite posting a drop in its first-half profit.

Low-cost airline EasyJet Plc. soared over 6% after posting stronger than expected full-year profit guidance.  The company said its quarterly sales increased 11% on higher capacity and revenue per seat.

German carmaker Daimler AG said its net profit almost doubled in the second quarter, boosted by the sale of a stake in European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. Shares of the auto giant, however, slipped 0.1% as the company said it expects full-year earnings to be lower as compared to those in 2012.

French power company Alstom SA jumped 2.6% after confirming its guidance for a stable operating margin in fiscal 2013-14. The company said it expects positive free cash flow year after year over the next two to three years.

Among others, financials stocks were modestly higher. BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA rose 1.6% and 0.9% in France while German lender Deutsche Bank AG tacked on around a percent.

London-listed banks, however, were trading mixed . Barclays Plc. slipped 0.6% while Lloyds Banking Group Plc. added 0.6%.

Miners were trading under some pressure. Leading miners BHP Billiton Plc. was flat while Rio Tinto eased 0.2%.