By Sara Sjolin
LONDON (MarketWatch) — European stock markets struggled for direction in early action on Thursday, ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s second day of testimony before Congress. The Chairman spoke Wednesday to the House Financial Services Committee and stressed that the central bank will be very responsive to economic data when considering a reduction in its asset purchases. The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP +0.56% was slightly lower at 296.99, after adding 0.6% on Wednesday. Shares of Akzo Nobel NV NL:AKZA -7.97% slumped 5.7% after the paints company reported a drop in second-quarter operating income. Shares of Ericsson LM SE:ERICB -3.08% dropped 4.5% after second-quarter profit missed expectations. Among country-specific indexes, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UK:UKX +0.73% climbed 0.3% to 6,587.08 and France’s CAC 40 index FR:PX1 +0.69% rose 0.2% to 3,878.52. Germany’s DAX 30 index DX:DAX +0.35% slipped 0.1% to 8,242.88.