Europe Shares Inch Higher

European shares markets moved mostly higher on Thursday, as well-received results from heavyweight companies supported indexes, while disappointing earnings for Alcatel-Lucent SA and some banks dented gains.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index (XX:SXXP) +0.25% rose 0.4% to 258.22.

Leading losses for the index, Alcatel-Lucent (FR:ALU) -11.03% plunged 10.1% after it reported a 12% drop in first-quarter revenue and warned that the outlook for Europe and North America remains uncertain.

Pointing to the other direction in Paris, Vivendi SA (FR:VIV) +4.54% rallied 6.3% on a report in Bloomberg News that the company may split into two units. In a statement, Vivendi denied any reports of a split up.

The French CAC 40 index (FR:PX1) +0.11% added 0.7% to 3,254.47.

In London, Unilever PLC (UK:ULVR) +2.89% jumped 4% after beating sales expectations for first quarter and recommended hiking dividend 8% compared with a year earlier.

The FTSE 100 index (UK:UKX) +0.49% rose 0.6% to 5,753.65, further buoyed by gains for oil firms. BP PLC (UK:BP) +1.40% BP +0.67% tracked oil prices higher and gained 1.7%, BG Group PLC (UK:BG) +1.95% added 1.9% and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (UK:RDSA) +3.17% (UK:RDSB) +3.36% RDS.A +0.67% RDS.B +0.01% jumped 3.2%.

AstraZeneca PLC (UK:AZN) -4.22% AZN +0.20% weighed on the U.K. index, shedding 3.3% after Chief Executive David Brennan announced his resignation following lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings and a cut in full-year profit target. 

In Germany, Bayer AG (DE:BAYN) +2.06% rose 2.6%. The drug maker said its confident for the rest of the year after increasing sales 6.8% in first quarter and beating analyst expectations.

The DAX 30 index (DX:DAX) +0.16% traded 0.2% higher at 6,718.52.

Deutsche Bank AG (DE:DBK) +2.48% weighed on the index, dropping 2.5% after reporting a 33% drop in first-quarter profit.

Spanish and Portugal indexes were also under pressure amid earnings from major components. The Spain IBEX 35 (XX:IBEX) -0.94% index fell 0.3% to 7,097.70 after Banco Santander SA (ES:SAN) -2.69% , off 1.7%, reported a 24% drop in profit as its provisions for bad loans jumped. In Lisbon, the PSI 20 index fell 0.5% to 5,168.11 after heavyweight retailer Jeronimo Martins SGPS SA (PT:JMT) -1.82% lost 2.1% as its first-quarter fell short of some analysts expectations.

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