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European stocks close flat on Christmas eve

European stocks closed flat on Thursday in a shortened trading day with thin volumes as the oil price remained choppy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended the day 0.05 percent lower. The German DAX and a number of other markets were closed today, with other bourses opened for a shortened trading day.

Henny Ray Abrams | AFP | Getty Images

Brent and WTI futures traded slightly higher in mid-afternoon trade on Thursday, having pared some of this week's gains that came on the back of a report from the Energy Information Administration that showed U.S. crude stocks had fallen unexpectedly.

European energy stocks remained elevated on Thursday. Statoil shares closed around 5.2 percent higher after a judge ruled that the Norwegian company did not breach a contract it had with New York-listed Diamond Offshore Drilling.

Mining stocks were also supported by news out of China that suggested that the country, which is a significant consumer of commodities, would implement further monetary and fiscal easing measures. Sweden's Boliden surged to close around 7.7 percent higher, for instance.

Meanwhile, BNP Paribas said late on Wednesday that it was considering "strategic alternatives" for its U.S. unit, First Hawaiian Bank, which could help it meet capital requirement rules by mid-2017. The lender also said its fourth quarter results would be hit by a 0.9 billion euro ($1 billion)-impairment charge on its Italian unit, BNL.

Shares in BNP Paribas ended the day down 0.8 percent.

Shares of Airbus closed 1.2 percent higher on the news that the aerospace and defense group has been awarded a contract to build two mobile communications satellites for Inmarsat.

Pharmaceutical firm Sanofi's shares ended the day 1.1 percent lower on Thursday after it submitted a new drug application on Wednesday.

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