European stock markets opened higher during Thursday morning trade, as investors reacted to robust economic data from both sides of the Atlantic, while oil prices hovered around two-and-a-half year highs amid unrest in Iran.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 inched 0.39 percent higher shortly after the opening bell, with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
In Asia, stocks traded close to 10-year highs on Thursday after upbeat economic data from the U.S. and Germany in the previous session appeared to strengthen investor optimism. U.S. factory activity was stronger-than-anticipated in December, according to data released Wednesday, and Germany’s unemployment rate was reported to have hit a record low in December.
Meanwhile, euro zone PMI services data is due to be released at around 9 a.m. London time on Thursday.
In commodities, oil prices flirted with two-and-a-half year highs amid ongoing anti-government protests in Iran. The clashes, which began last week, have rattled Tehran’s clerical leadership and left 21 people dead. Brent crude traded at around $68.11 a barrel on Thursday morning, up 0.4 percent, while U.S. crude was seen at $62.11, up 0.78 percent.