European stocks climbed to a two-week high Thursday afternoon, as investors digested stronger-than-anticipated corporate earnings, while sterling rose sharply after a reported Brexit breakthrough.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.55 percent during lunchtime deals with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
Europe’s telecoms stocks led the gains on the back of robust earnings results. BT was the top sectoral performer, after raising its company outlook. Shares jumped more than 10 percent on the news.
On the other hand, oil and gas stocks were under pressure during early afternoon deals. Tgs-Nopec Geophysical fell nearly 10 percent after posting weaker-than-anticipated third-quarter operating profit.
Looking across the European benchmark, ASMI surged to the top of the European benchmark Thursday afternoon, up over 14 percent, after strong third-quarter results.
Market focus is largely attuned to Brexit developments, after the Times reported U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May had agreed on terms with Brussels that would give British financial services firms continued access to European markets post-Brexit.
The news prompted pound sterling to move away from a 2-and-a-half month low reached earlier in the week. The currency had been dented on worries of an orderly exit from the European Union next year.
Shortly after midday, sterling jumped more than 1.2 percent to hit a session high of $1.2930. The sharp rally comes after the Bank of England announced it would keep interest rates unchanged on Thursday.