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July 23 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trading on Thursday, as investors brushed off simmering U.S.-China tensions and focused on better-than-expected earnings updates from Unilever and Daimler.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3% by 0718 GMT, with personal & household goods stocks and automakers leading sectoral gains.
Unilever NV surged 6.4% as the consumer giant reported second-quarter sales that fell much less than feared due to a strong performance in North America.
Germany's Daimler AG jumped 5.4% after saying EBIT at its core Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans division in 2020 is expected to be above prior-year levels.
Publicis Groupe SA, the world's third-biggest advertising company, surged 14.8% after it beat market expectations for underlying sales in the second quarter with a less severe activity dive than most analysts feared.
Meanwhile, data showed German consumer morale improved more than expected heading into August, helped by a temporary cut in value-added tax as part of the government's stimulus package to fight the coronavirus shock.
The slew of upbeat news helped investors brush aside concerns after the United States asked China to close its consulate in Houston amid accusations of spying, that had triggered a market selloff in the previous session. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)