Europe bourses open higher, oil prices elevated amid Iran protests

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.

Source: CNBC