By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- European stock markets were mostly higher on Monday, with the benchmark index on track for an eighth straight day of gains, as regional majors such as Akzo Nobel NV and Royal Philips NV rallied after upbeat earnings reports.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index added 0.1% to 318.78, building on a 0.8% gain from Friday.

Shares of Akzo Nobel (AKZOY) jumped 8.2% after the paints and coatings firm said it returned to profit in the third quarter.

Royal Philips (PHG) climbed 6.5% after the electronics giant said net profit more than doubled in the third quarter, mainly due to lower operating costs.

On a more downbeat note, luxury-goods firms Hugo Boss AG , TOD'S SpA and Luxottica Group SpA all dropped more than 2% after Goldman Sachs cut the companies to sell from neutral.

Apart from earnings releases in Europe, investors awaited a report on existing home sales in the U.S. to gauge if the country's housing market remains in recovery mode. Later in the week a flurry of data releases from the U.S. are due, after they were delayed by the government shutdown that ended last week. On Tuesday, the much-anticipated nonfarm-payrolls report from September will come out, along with the unemployment rate.

U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Monday.

"After all the political noise of the past month, this week looks set to see macro and fundamental drivers come back with a bang as we (finally) have September's nonfarm payrolls on Tuesday. We also see more than a quarter of S&P 500 companies report earnings, whilst European earnings season gathers pace," analysts at Deutsche Bank said in a note.

"After last week's impressive rallies, it will be interesting to see how markets manage this change of focus and the persistent data flow. On top of this, each data point will be analyzed with an eye not only to what they mean for underlying economic strength but also for what each implies for the time schedule of Fed tapering," they added.

In Europe, Germany's DAX 30 index fell 0.1% to 8,859.48, retreating from an all-time high reached on Friday.

Shares of SAP AG surged 6.6% in Frankfurt after the business-software firm said profit jumped 23% in the third quarter.

France's CAC 40 index lost 0.3% to 4,272.30, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index was up 0.2% at 6,632.20.

Italy's FTSE MIB index fell 0.1% to 19,260.03, as the country's three main trade unions said they will hold strikes and protests against the government's 2014 budget plan, according to Reuters.

Outside the major indexes, Swiss biotech firm Actelion Ltd. gained 4.3% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late Friday approved its new key lung drug, Opsumit.

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