(Reuters) – European shares opened higher on Thursday, as strong reports from drugmaker Roche, brewer AB Inbev and luxury goods house LVMH stood out in a torrent of earnings, ahead of a highly-anticipated European Central Bank rate decision.
The ECB is all but certain to ease policy further on Thursday, with the biggest question whether it staggers its moves over several months or opts for a big bang. The decision is expected at 1145 GMT followed by Chief Mario Draghi’s speech at 1230 GMT.
Shares of the world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev <ABI.BR> rose 3.7% after it beat quarterly earnings expectations on the back of the fastest growth in beer sales in five years. Swiss drugmaker Roche <ROG.S> gained 1.1% as it lifted its full-year sales outlook, while telecom network equipment maker Nokia <NOKIA.HE> climbed after reporting a surprise rise in second-quarter profit.
The pan-European main stocks index STOXX 600 <.STOXX> rose 0.3% by 0707 GMT.
Luxury stocks helped Paris’ main index <.FCHI> outperform with a 0.7% gain. LVMH <LVMH.PA> Hermes <HRMS.PA> and Kering <PRTP.PA> advanced between 0.7% and 2.2%, while jacket maker Moncler <MONC.MI> gained around 4%.
(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)