Europe Markets

Europe closes higher on Greece hopes; yuan eyed

Europe closes higher on Greece hopes; yuan eyed

European equities closed higher on Thursday, as investors eyed developments in the Chinese yuan and Greece's third bailout program.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed around 0.9 percent higher on Thursday.

France's benchmark CAC index and Germany's DAX ended provisionally higher by 1.1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.

Most euro zone markets closed in positive territory, however, Greece's benchmark Athens Composite ended down 0.7 percent.

The U.K. underperformed most euro zone markets, with the FTSE 100 closing provisionally 0.1 percent lower.

Investors across the globe eyed the yuan, as the People's Bank of China attempted to reassure markets that it did not plan to continuously devalue the Chinese currency.

In a press conference in Beijing, an official from the central bank said the country's strong economic environment, sustained trade surplus, sound fiscal position and deep foreign exchange reserves provided "strong support" for the exchange rate.

The official did add, however, that the central bank would monitor "abnormal" cross-border flows.

Back in Europe, investors monitored developments on Greece's third bailout, which now needs to be agreed by euro zone governments.

Trouble may be brewing once more in Athens, with rebels from the ruling Syriza party planning to vote against the bailout deal, according to Reuters. These leftist rebels are also edging towards a formal split from the main body of the party.

Also on Thursday, minutes from the European Central Bank's last monthly meeting showed that officials were concerned that volatility in Chinese markets could have more impact on Europe than previous feared.

Stocks in focus

European energy and basic resources stocks underperformed on Thursday, as oil and gas prices tumbled.

U.S. crude declined around 2.6 percent to a near five-month low of $42.10 per barrel, due to concerns over a supply glut. Brent crude was 1.4 percent down at just under $49 around the close of European stock markets.

In individual stock news, shares of shipping and oil giant Moller-Maersk jumped to close 5.9 percent higher after the Danish group reported better-than-expected second-quarter profits.

Shares of Nestle closed 2.7 percent higher, despite the Swiss multinational reporting slightly worse-than-expected half-year sales on Thursday, hit by a recall of its Maggi noodles in India. However, organic growth was at 4.5 percent, beating expectations.

At the other end of indexes, shares of RWE sank to close 7.9 percent lower, after the German-listed utility company reported a disappointing operating profit for the first half of the year.