Europe Markets

Europe ends lower as China concerns linger; earnings weigh

Europe ends lower; China concerns linger; earnings eyed

European equities closed slightly lower on Tuesday, as earnings reports and renewed concerns over China's economic slowdown continued to dominate investor sentiment.

The pan-European STOXX 600 finished 0.3 percent lower provisionally.

European indices and sectors showed a mixed picture at the close, with London's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX ending 0.1 percent lower. The French CAC however ended trade down 0.6 percent.

Data released Monday showed China's economy expanded 6.9 percent on-year in the third quarter, compared with the prediction of 6.8 percent in a Reuters poll. However, other data showed that industrial production rose 5.7 percent on-year in September, missing expectations for a rise of 6.0 percent.

Consequently, Asian equity markets traded mixed on Tuesday, with energy shares among the worst-hit, while U.S. markets traded in a slightly lower range as Wall Street digested a slew of corporate earnings and U.S. housing starts data.

Miners, oil stocks under pressure

Global oil markets had a turbulent day in Europe, however oil prices were roughly flat around Tuesday's close as it tried to shake off Monday's sharp declines.

Despite earlier highs and lows, Brent crude last stood at $48.55 a barrel, while U.S. light crude was at $45.87; however any gains were capped over concerns on oversupply and the health of the global economy. Oil majors saw sharp declines, with Seadrill closing off 4.1 percent. Tullow Oil and Repsol also closed sharply lower.

Basic resources stocks attempted to shake off China concerns and the fall in metal prices in later trade. The U.K.'s steel industry came under new pressure as Tata Steel announced a fresh round of job cuts Monday, with the industry blaming cheap Chinese imports for the cuts. Despite this, Anglo American, Antofagasta and BHP Billiton closed only slightly below the flat line.

Hot topic: Earnings

European earnings remained in focus on Tuesday. British online fashion retailer Asos saw profits rise 1 percent in the year to August 31, sending shares in the firm to close up 8.4 percent.

InterContinental Hotels Group said its revenue per available room (revPAR), a key industry metric, rose 4.8 percent in the third quarter versus the 4.4 percent growth in the second quarter. This sent shares in the firm to close almost 7 percent higher.

Swiss biotechnology firm Actelion saw shares finish up 3.7 percent after it said it expects core earnings growth for the full year to exceed 20 percent, up from previous forecast.

China to take one-third stake in Hinkley nuclear project

In individual stock news, shares in TNT spiked, closing up over 10 percent, after reports emerged that U.S. logistics company FedEx was set to gain an unconditional EU antitrust approval for its 4.4 billion euro ($5 billion) acquisition of the Dutch peer TNT. Dutch-based postal firm, Postnl jumped on the back of the news, up 8.3 percent.

Shares in Italian bank Unicredit rose 2.7 percent after reports that it could sell the retail and small and medium enterprise finance businesses at its Bank Austria arm.

Meanwhile, Swiss watch exports slumped 7.9 percent in nominal terms during September, sending shares in Swatch Group and Richemont to close over 1 percent lower.

Goldman Sachs downgraded Satellite companies Eutelsat and SES to "sell" from "neutral". Shares in Eutelsat tanked 5 percent to the bottom of the Stoxx 600, while SES ended over 4 percent lower.