European stocks close mixed; Glencore jumps after spending cuts

European equities closed mixed on Thursday as investors eyed the continued rout in oil prices and other commodities.

Oil in focus


The pan-European STOXX 600 closed roughly flat, down 0.01 provisionally. The French CAC and German DAX both finished higher, while earnings dragged the FTSE to close down 0.3 percent provisionally.

Oil prices remained under pressure due to oversupply in the market, with Brent and U.S. WTI were both trading lower around $40 and $37 respectively. OPEC published its latest monthly oil market report on Thursday, in which its forecast said that the supply of oil from countries outside of the OPEC will contract next year as world oil demand rises.

Glencore up 7%

Miners were again in focus as metal prices continued to come under pressure. After Anglo American announced a massive round of job cuts, Glencore increased its debt reduction target and further cut its capital expenditure.

Glencore's shares surged as much as 12 percent before paring gains, bust still closed higher by over 7 percent. Anglo American finished slightly higher and BHP Billiton sank over 2 percent.

In other news, Hans Dieter Potsch, the chairman of the supervisory board of scandal-hit carmaker Volkswagen, said the company was making "good progress" with its emissions investigation and vowed to identify the people responsible. Shares wobbled during trade, but shot up in later trade, to close higher by 1.14 percent.

Sports Direct tanks on earnings

On the earnings front, retailer Sports Direct reported a 7.6 percent rise in underlying earnings for the first half of the year and said trading since the end of the period has been in line with management's expectations. Shares, however, tumbled to close over 10 percent lower.

Investec shares tanked over 11 percent after Standard & Poor's reduced its outlook on the company from "stable" to "negative". And Insurance firm Old Mutual tanked over 10 percent after RBC cut its price target for the stock.

On the other side, Swiss agrochemicals and seeds firm Syngenta saw shares rise 3.4 percent after news site Benzinga reported that ChemChina, is said to be considering a purchase of the company.

French utility EDF saw shares finish up over 6 percent after it raised its 2015 profit target.

SNB, BoE maintain rates

Elsewhere, central banks are also in focus Thursday. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) left its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Thursday, adding that the Swiss franc remains "significantly overvalued."

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted 8-1 in favor of maintaining the key U.K. interest rate at 0.5 percent and said it anticipated that the low oil price would keep inflation low.

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