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Market Update

European Stocks Push Lower; Earnings in Focus

European stocks pushed lower in opening trades Thursday as investors focused on a few downbeat earnings reports.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.4% at 9:04 a.m. London time. The CAC 40 Paris slipped 0.2% while the DAX Frankfurt lost 0.6%.

In economci reports, data released today showed Germany's Ifo business climate increased more than expected in the previous month. The Ifo Institute of Economic Research's index of German business climate climbed to 106.2 from 105.9 in the previous month.

But despite this positive news, stocks drifted lower as a batch of companies in the region reported disappointing quarterly results.

Stocks on the Move

London-based consumer goods giant Unilever plc. reported strong first-half profit but warned of difficult economic conditions across its markets. Shares of Unilever were down 2.1%.

Also in London, Reed Elsevier posted a 7.8% drop in net profit during the half year-end. But the stock bounced 3.8% as the company reassured it remained on track to deliver its strategic and financial priorities.

BT Group Plc. lost 1.2% after posting a 16% decline in first quarter pretax profit.

French telecom giant Orange SA tumbled 4.4% after its net income dropped 38% in the first half of 2013.

German chemical giant BASF plunged 4.6% after reporting lower-than-expected profits, and as the company said that achieving its earnings target had become significantly more challenging.

Among others, banking stocks added to the broad market losses. Barring a couple of lenders, most financials traded lower.

Credit Agricole SA lost 1% in France while Lloyds Banking Group Plc. also lost 1% in London.  German lender Commerzbank AG slumped 3.7% after the bank said it was exposed to debt issued by the U.S. city of Detriot.

Among resources stocks, top miners BHP Billiton lost 1.8% while Rio Tinto plc. slid 2.2%. Anglo American Plc. retreated 2.8%