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European Stocks Close Lower on Bank of America Miss

European stocks finished in negative territory Thursday, after a sharper-than-expected drop in Bank of America's third-quarter profit caused by the credit crisis dragged financial and banking stocks lower.

An unexpected jump in the number of U.S. citizens claiming unemployment benefits last week, compared to the previous week, added to the negative sentiment.

Asian indexes finished mostly in positive territory, but India suffered a late-session slump on speculation the country's Prime Minister could resign, Reuters reported. U.S. markets were lower in the wake of Bank of America's disappointing results.

Shares of Nokia finished 2.6 percent higher as strong demand for cheaper phones boosted third-quarter earnings at the world's biggest maker of mobile phones.

Elsewhere, shares in Switzerland were among the most actively traded after three corporate titans issued results.

Swiss agrochemicals company Syngenta jumped 5.8 percent after reporting a 21 percent rise in third-quarter profit. The company also raised its outlook for the rest of the year.

Drug market Novartis also added a little strength to the Swiss market. Although the company reported a drop in third-quarter profit due to generic competition and a one-time charge, it confirmed its outlook for annual sales growth. Shares of Novartis ended the session 0.4 percent lower.

Meanwhile, Nestle gained 0.3 percent, as the food giant met its nine-month sales expectations. Nestle said it will have to increase prices to offset higher commodity costs, however.

Overall, the Swiss SMI closed lower, in line with the broader European market.

In Germany, the DAX was also lower, despite SAP's third-quarter earnings, which came in line with analysts' expectations. The software maker also unveiled plans to team up with US retail giant Wal-Mart and reaffirmed its full-year outlook.

The Paris CAC-40 index finished firmly lower, pressured by Thomson's third-quarter revenue, which came in slightly below expectations. And London's FTSE-100 also sank, despite firm retail sales data for September.