European markets were higher recently as investors continued to weigh current political uncertainties and digested fresh corporate earnings. The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.18 percent higher with most sectors trading in positive territory. Oil and gas stocks were the worst performers in early deals on U.S. crude stocks data which led to a fall in the oil price. The new figures showed a fall by 1 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration, but stocks still remain close to a record high.
Basic resources were up by 0.5 percent in early trade. Rio Tinto reported late Wednesday that it was not changing its full-year iron ore shipment guidance despite lower prices. The household sector was also higher early on Thursday on earnings reports.
Unilever reported fresh numbers and rose to the top of the U.K.’s benchmark after announcing first-quarter sales above expectations. Its shares were 1.1 percent higher. The Danish jewellery maker Pandora erased some losses seen earlier this week after saying that it is updating its structure and backing its 2017 guidance. It jumped more than 4 percent in early trade.
British hedge fund Man Group took the lead across European bourses, up by 4.5 percent, after announcing that funds under management rose 10 percent in the first quarter.
Geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and North Korea continue after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday the U.S. was looking at new ways to pressure the rogue state. Meanwhile, he also accused Iran of “alarming ongoing provocations” to disturb countries in the Middle East. In Europe, opinion polls show that the race to elect the next French president is too close to call with both leading candidates losing momentum ahead of Sunday’s first-round vote.