LONDON (Reuters) - European stocks pushed higher in early trading on Thursday as Italian stocks recovered some lost ground and commodities-related sectors rallied, while shares in Ocado rocketed after the company signed a partnership deal.
The pan-European STOXX 600 (STOXX) was up 0.1 percent by 0724 GMT, holding at 3-1/2 month highs as shares in energy stocks and miners rose, while Italy's benchmark (FTMIB) climbed more than 1 percent as markets awaited the result of talks between two anti-system parties to form a coalition government.
On Wednesday, Italian stocks had tumbled more than 2 percent after a leaked draft coalition programme indicated that the parties planned to ask the European Central Bank to forgive 250 billion euros ($296 billion) of Italian debt.
Britain's FTSE 100 (FTSE) also pushed higher, shrugging off a rise in sterling following a report late on Wednesday that Britain will tell Brussels it is prepared to stay in the European Union's customs union beyond 2021. A source at Prime Minister May's office dismissed the report on Thursday.
While indexes were relatively subdued, there were some big movers among individual stocks. Shares in online supermarket Ocado (L:OCDO) surged nearly 40 percent to an all-time high after the company signed a deal with U.S. retailer Kroger Co (N:KR) to use Ocado's technology for grocery deliveries in the world's biggest market.
Earnings updates also spurred sizeable moves. Altice (AS:ATCA) jumped more than 10 percent after its French unit showed the first signs of recovery in the first quarter, while French waste and water group Suez (PA:SEVI) rose 3.4 percent after higher waste volumes boosted its first-quarter core earnings.
Shares in British bookmakers also came under pressure after the UK government cut the top stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to two pounds. William Hill (L:WMH), GVC (L:GVC) and Paddy Power Betfair (L:PPB) fell between 0.7 and 3.1 percent.
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