European markets closed mixed to slightly lower Thursday, as investors tried to find their footing amid a busy day for corporate earnings.
The pan-European STOXX 600 failed to stay positive, closing roughly flat, with banking stocks and miners weighing on sentiment.
Germany's Deutsche Bank reported a net loss of 6 billion euros ($6.56 billion) amid continued litigation and impairment charges. It said it would reduce the work force by about 9,000 full-time jobs and 6,000 external contractor positions by 2020. Shares tanked on the back of this, closing down 6.9 percent.
U.K. bank Barclays reported an adjusted pretax profit of £1.43 billion ($2.18 billion) for the third quarter, lower than the average forecast of £1.65 billion by analysts, sending shares sharply lower, finishing over 6 percent lower.
Overall the banking sector was down over 2 percent from the slew of earnings, including Danske Bank whose shares tumbled over 7 percent after it posted third-quarter pretax profit below forecasts. Spain's Santander also closed sharply lower.
Finnish network equipment firm Nokia reported third-quarter results and said that it would return 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) to shareholders over the coming years in the form of dividend payments and share buybacks. Nokia's shares surged to the top of the STOXX 600, up 10.4 percent.
French telecoms equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent booked a third-quarter net loss of 206 million euros but said the deal for Nokia to buy it was on track to be completed in 2016. Shares climbed, ending up 10.3 percent.
In the oil and gas space, France's Total reported third-quarter group net income fell 69 percent year-on-year amid a low crude price, but boosted its production targets for the year. Shares finished up 0.7 percent.
Royal Dutch Shell reported its current cost of supplies, its definition of net income, plunged 70 percent in the third-quarter due to a $8.2 billion charge which included write-offs in Alaska and Canada. Shares slipped 0.6 percent.
After Wednesday's soar in oil prices, crude prices had a choppy session on Thursday, as glut concerns continued to simmer. Brent traded roughly flat at $49.17, while U.S. crude last stood at $46.25. This volatility and mixed earnings, put pressure on oil stocks, with Tullow Oil and Subsea 7 slipping to close over 4.5 percent.
As well as earnings news, traders were absorbing a rate decision by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. It kept rates unchanged but its statement was viewed as signaling a rate raise is still on the cards at its next meeting, which would signal the beginning of the end to the post-credit crisis cheap money era.
This was one of the biggest factors driving markets worldwide, with Asia showing a mixed picture overnight. The Fed also remained a key topic for Europe and the U.S. whose stocks which traded lower Thursday, as investors weighed the possibility of a December rate hike.