Most European stock markets advanced slightly on Thursday. Investors struggled through a mountain of quarterly reports from large companies and looked forward to the European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate decision coming out later in the day. Among other things, the AEX funds Unilever, Aalberts and RELX came with figures on the Damrak.

The AEX index on Beursplein 5 was 0.1 percent lower at 582.75 points around noon. The MidKap rose 0.6 percent to 837.65 points. London and Paris won up to 0.6 percent. Frankfurt fell a fraction.

Aalberts (plus 4.4 percent) led the AEX. The industrial and technology group posted higher results in the first half of the year. Information provider RELX was at the bottom with a minus of 3.5 percent after a disappointing trade report. Unilever fell 0.7 percent. According to analysts, the underlying growth of the food group in the first half of the year was somewhat disappointing.

Arcadis was the big winner in the MidKap with a plus of 8 percent. The consultancy and engineering firm recorded more revenue in the first half of the year and boosted profitability. Chip supplier Besi won 2.2 percent, despite a disappointing revenue forecast for the third quarter. At the smaller companies, Pharming was worth 15.7 percent more. The biotechnologist saw a significant increase in turnover and the result in the first half of the year.

Danone rose 1.5 percent in Paris. The food group saw quarterly sales grow faster than expected. The French luxury group LVMH won 1.5 percent after a substantial revenue growth in the first six months of this year. The pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, which also produced results, rose 5.6 percent in London. Sage fell 12.7 percent after disappointing sales figures from the British software company.

In Helsinki, Nokia arrived 5.8 percent after better-than-expected quarterly figures from the Finnish network equipment maker. In Brussels, beer brewer AB InBev rose 5.1 percent thanks to strong results.

The euro was worth $ 1,1127 against $ 1,1143 a day earlier. A barrel of American oil became 0.5 percent more expensive at $ 56.16. Brent oil rose 0.6 percent in price to $ 63.55 a barrel.

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