MADRID (MarketWatch) -- European stock markets opened firmer on Thursday, tracking gains in Asia after a clutch of China data pointed in the direction of more monetary-policy easing from that country. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.5% to 270.46, with a 1.5% rise for Banco Santander SA and a 1.2% gain for Sanofi SA . Earnings also powered shares of Novo Nordisk
AS 5% higher and Nestle SA up 2%. Shares of Aegon NV rose nearly 6% after the company posted a 10% gain in underlying profit. Shares of Commerzbank AG fell 1.8% after the company warned on its second half. The German DAX 30 index was flat at 6,965.04. The French CAC 40 index rose 0.5% to 3,455.23, with a 1.8% rise for Credit Agricole SA and a 1% gain for BNP Paribas SA . The FTSE 100 index rose 0.2% to 5,855.93, with Randgold Resources Ltd. up 3% after earnings beat forecasts. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
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