European shares close mixed; Portuguese market down 3%
European equities closed mixed on Wednesday, with Portuguese stocks down over 3 percent as shares in the country's banks fell.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed slightly higher by 0.1 percent at 1,347.09 points after a fluctuating day of trade, with U.K. data causing some concern.
U.S. stocks also traded mixed on Wednesday as Wall Street appraised results from IBM and others.
In Britain, the unemployment rate hit 7.1 percent for the three months to November, much lower than the 7.3 percent that was expected. This is just 0.1 percent above the Bank of England's 7 percent "forward guidance" threshold, raising the specter of interest rate hikes.
London's FTSE 100 closed down around 0.1 percent.
Portuguese shares closed down around 3.4 percent. Reuters cited traders as saying shares in Portuguese banks slumped after the government doused expectations that deferred taxes would be converted into credits.
"There is a fear that the government will prevent the easing of the banks' tax bill, which would be beneficial for the banks if it goes ahead," Goncalo Salvado, an analyst at DifBroker told Reuters.
Meanwhile, business leaders and politicians have gathered for the annual World Economic Forum, in Switzerland which started on Wednesday.
(Read more: Watch out: Davos pros like the US)
Wetherspoons, Eurotunnel higher
U.K. pub chain JD Wetherspoon reported accelerating quarterly sales growth. Shares in the company, which has over 880 pubs, closed higher by around 2.5percent.
The Channel Tunnel's operator, Eurotunnel, saw a 12 percent rise in 2013 revenue to 1.09 billion euros ($1.48 billion), in line with an average revenue forecast of 1.08 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts. Shares in the operator closed down just over 1 percent however.
There was good news from software company Sage Group, with the firm announcing it was on course to deliver its 6 percent organic revenue growth target in 2015 Shares provisionally closed higher by 3.3 percent.
Power and technology company ABB saw shares close down 3.6 percent on news that fourth-quarter earnings will be hit by roughly $260 million in costs related to North Sea power projects and restructuring.
After a difficult week of trading so far, Peugeot shares closed higher by 5.8 percent after Moody's said the car maker's planned 3 billion euro capital increase was a credit positive.
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