Europe markets close up, lifted by Eurozone…

European stock markets closed higher yesterday after choppy trading, as data showing slightly improved business activity in the eurozone lifted sentiments.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 0.30% to end the day at 6,419.15 points.

In Paris, the CAC 40 added 1.28% to close at 4,157.68 points, while Frankfurt’s DAX index gained 1.20% to 9,047.31 points.

Across the Atlantic, US stocks took the lead from mostly solid earnings reports from Dow members including Caterpillar and 3M.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.48% to 16,705.35 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.36% to 1,953.27, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.69% to 4,457.05.

Industrial heavyweight Caterpillar jumped 3.9% after third-quarter net income rose 8% to $1.02bn (€806mn) as company cost-cutting measures and restructuring offset sluggish economic conditions.

3M’s profits gained 6% to $1.3bn as the industrial and consumer materials company notched earnings per share of $1.98, two cents above analyst estimates. Its shares rose 4.2%.

In foreign exchange, the euro climbed to $1.2658 from $1.2643 late in New York on Wednesday.

The European single currency gained to 78.90 British pence from 78.78 pence. The British pound dropped to $1.6045 from $1.6049 on Wednesday.

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold slipped to $1,228.80 an ounce from $1,243.75.

In European corporate news, the chairman of Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco resigned yesterday as the troubled supermarket group said a huge accounting error began earlier than thought and contributed to plunging profits.

Tesco shares closed down 6.56% at 171pence while dragging down other supermarket groups. Morrison lost 3.04% to 153.10 pence and Sainsbury’s slid 1.82% to 237.20 pence.

Elsewhere, Unilever dropped 3.71% to €24.52 after the Dutch food and cosmetics giant posted a third quarter drop in sales blamed on a slowdown in emerging markets, particularly in China.

Orange, formerly France Telecom, climbed 4.63% to €11.42 despite a 2.3% drop in sales as its perspectives have improved as it appears the price war in the French market is nearing an end.

Shares in Safran got a 4.98% lift to €48.85, as the company posted a 7% overall gain in sales thanks in large part due to demand for new-generation fuel-efficient engines from Airbus and Boeing.

But Michelin skidded 4.91% to €67.04 after a 4.6 drop in third quarter sales despite a recovering European car market, and cut its forecast for an increase in sales volume to a gain of just 1 to 2%.