Santander Rockets Post-Earnings, While Volkswagen and Alcatel-Lucent Collapse

LONDON -- European stock markets have pushed decisively into positive territory Thursday, having started the day on a more mixed note, bolstered after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said that the central bank would do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.

Mr Draghi's aggressive stance has been seen by many as a warning against short-selling the single currency, although it is unclear exactly what mechanisms are left for the ECB to implement in order to support the euro.

Meanwhile, a raft of corporate earnings results on both sides of the Atlantic have been pushing shares in every direction today, with investors now watching for further numbers from large U.S. names after the close.

The Spanish IBEX (INDEX: ^IBEX) is one of the best-performing benchmark indexes today, up more than3.5%.

As always, the following price moves are based on this morning's European trading.

Earnings results have been the name of the game for individual firms this morning, with numbers at both ends bringing about some of the largest share price movements on the continent. This includes Finnish mining equipment supplier Metso (NASDAQOTH: MXCYY.PK), which spiked more than 12% and held in the 10% region after it reported a 54% jump in quarterly profits.

The company said that high utilization in mines helped its large installed-equipment base, with South American demand the strongest, followed by North America and Australia. Metso said net income climbed from 68 million euros last year to 105 million euros -- well above analyst estimates in the 90 million euro region.

Elsewhere, Banco Santander (NYS: SAN) has also been seeing significant gains, up almost 7% after saying it would accelerate its efforts to clear up bad loans on its balance sheet. This particularly refers to defaulted property loans, which have suffered in Spain since the recession. Santander says it has set aside 2.78 billion euros to cover these losses. Today's gains come despite the bank reporting that second-quarter profits plummeted 93%, while net income fell to 100 million euros from last year's 1.39 billion euros.

On the downside, French telephone equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent (NYS: ALU) is suffering some of the deepest losses today, down 7.3% after it said it will slash 5,000 jobs -- around 6% of its staff -- in an effort to cut costs after reporting a loss of 254 million euros for the latest quarter. The company hopes these job cuts will save it an extra 750 million euros.

Meanwhile, German carmaker Volkswagen (NASDAQOTH: VLKPY.PK) is down 4.8% in Frankfurt after it reported a slowdown in earnings growth during the latest quarter. VW said Q2 operating profit rose 3.4% to 3.28 billion euros, versus 10% growth in the first quarter, while Q2 revenue climbed 19% to 48.1 billion euros. Despite this, the company has stuck to its full-year profit target of matching last year's 11.3 billion euros.

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