European markets open rapidly as tensions rise between the United States and China

European stocks rose on Thursday as investors reacted to mounting tensions between the United States and China and a large amount of corporate earnings.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.5% in initial trade, with cars jumping 2.7% to lead profits, while profits lost 0.4%.

Tensions between China and the United States increased this week after the United States claimed that two Chinese hackers attacked US companies working on the virus investigation and stole information from companies around the world, both for profit and on behalf. from the Chinese government.

The United States then ordered the closure of the Chinese Chinese consulate in Houston, claiming it was a necessary step to protect the intellectual property and data of private citizens. The move prompted condemnation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry as it warned of firm countermeasures if the United States does not reverse its decision.

In other news, US stocks also rebounded toward the end of the trading session on Wednesday after sources told CNBC that Republicans in Congress are weighing an extension of diluted federal unemployment benefits through the end of the year. .

On Thursday, the Labor Department will release its latest report on weekly unemployment claims. The weekly figures provide Wall Street with a critical view of how many Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims.

Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific markets traded mixed on Thursday with the sale of shares from mainland China and South Korea reporting a decline in second-quarter GDP, largely due to a sharp drop in exports.

German consumer confidence has soared thanks to the return of economic activity and historic stimulus measures in Europe, new data revealed on Thursday. The forward-looking GfK Institute consumer confidence reading rose to -0.3 in August compared to -9.4 in July.

Earnings in focus

Roche posted a 5% drop in net profits during the first half of the year on Thursday, with net income of 8.5 billion Swiss francs ($ 9.15 billion) as the coronavirus pandemic and a strong franc Swiss weighed on earnings. Sales also fell 4%, but the Swiss drug maker kept its outlook for 2020.

Unilever reported a much smaller than expected 0.3% drop in quarterly sales on Thursday, and analysts forecast a 4.3% decline. Shares of the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company rose 6.8% in early operations.

Daimler experienced a second quarter loss of 1.68 billion euros ($ 1.9 billion), but projected an increase in earnings this year for its Mercedes-Benz car and van division as sales begin to rebound.

In terms of individual share price action, Publicis Groupe shares recovered 12.3% in early trading after the French advertising company exceeded earnings expectations.

At the other end of the European first-class index, Swedish construction company Skanska fell 5.6% after reporting a sharp drop in second-quarter earnings.

– CNBC’s Patti Domm, Saheli Roy Choudhury and Thomas Franck contributed to this market report.