Europe Markets

European shares close higher; Alcatel-Lucent up 16%

European shares close higher

European stocks ended the day higher on Thursday after a bumpy day of trading, as investors pondered the U.S. Federal Reserve's next move.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed 0.5 percent higher at 1,326.36, reversing earlier losses. All major country indexes ended on a positive note.

Germany's DAX closed unofficially up 0.3 percent following the release of economic data which initially pushed the benchmark index lower. Germany's unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent in October, and joblessness fell more than expected. However, inflation data for the country came in slightly lower than forecast.

Alcatel-Lucent topped indexes, with shares jumping to end around 16 percent higher. The French telecommunications company posted a 34 percent rise in third-quarter gross profit margins, as it continued to cut costs. Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes said the results showed the company's turnaround plan was "on track".

Lufthansa was one of the day's big fallers, closing more than 6.5 percent lower after it cut its 2015 profit guidance for a second time. It has struggled this year due to sluggish global economy and high competition.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told CNBC: "Volatility has increase, be it operational, or alternatively, due to war zones, which we have to circumnavigate. Be it volatility of the macroeconomic situation, almost around the world. This is why we have been more cautious on the outlook for 2015 than a few months ago,"

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The banking sector underperformed, with shares in Greek and Italian banks still struggling following the results of the European Central Bank's stress tests. The results were published on Wednesday and revealed that 25 euro zone banks failed, including nine Italian banks.

One of the worst performers was Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS), whose shares fell by as much as 16 percent on Thursday. Reuters reported on Tuesday that the Italian Treasury might be considering delaying BMPS's repayment deadline for the hundreds of million of euros in state aid it has received.

Outside of peripheral Europe, banks that struggled on Thursday included Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank. These ended down around 4.8 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

Wall Street stocks mostly gained on Thursday, after gross domestic product (GDP) data showed the U.S. economy grew more than expected last quarter. This came after the Federal Reserve announced an end to its historic bond-buying program on Wednesday, as expected.