European stocks were set for a slightly lower open on Thursday, with investors focusing on a big batch of quarterly results from blue-chip companies. However, the announcement of a ceasefire in Ukraine managed to lift the trade near to the close.

On a positive note, Hermès posted Thursday a 9.6 percent rise in fourth-quarter sales at constant exchange rates, slightly below some analysts' expectations. Despite the positive push, the French luxury retailer is now projecting sales growth of 8 percent this year at constant exchange rates, below the mid-term annual target for a 10 percent increase that it reiterated in November. Given the weaker outlook, the company’s shares fell as much as 2.1 percent in Paris.

Meanwhile, online fashion retailer Zalando jumped 11 percent after it reported a bigger-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter core profit as it reined in marketing spending and grew sales.

Still in the Old Continent, Greece remained in focus since after seven hours of crisis talks in Brussels, euro zone finance ministers were unable to agree on the next procedural steps, reports Reuters. "There are further meetings in the coming days and if there's no progress by the end of next week, we could get a correction on the market," said Alexandre Baradez, chief market analyst at IG France.

 

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