Auto stocks drive European shares higher, as PMI data, ECB eyed

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Oct 24 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Thursday lifted by auto stocks after upbeat earnings from Daimler, while investors awaited economic data and a central bank rate meeting in the euro area to gauge the health of the bloc.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3% at 0710 GMT, with auto stocks outperforming the broader market with gains of 1.6%.

Daimler rose 4% after reporting an 8% increase in third-quarter operating profit. Other carmakers BMW and PSA Group gained between 1% and 2%.

On the other end of the spectrum, telecom maker Nokia tumbled 20% after cutting its annual profit forecasts for 2019 and 2020, dragging the Helsinki index down over 2%.

Investors will closely watch Flash Purchasing Manager’s Index data for Germany, France, and the overall euro zone between 0715 and 0800 GMT, and the European Central bank policy announcement at 1145 GMT. (Reporting by Lisa Pauline Mattackal; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)