Europe shares close mixed after Draghi; euro seesaws; oil slips

European markets finished in negative territory on Thursday afternoon, after the European Central Bank (ECB) held its key interest rates unchanged and following a slew of disappointing earnings.

No helicopter money


The pan-European STOXX 600 closed lower by 0.28 percent provisionally, with sharp fluctuations in the euro weighing on market sentiment. Sectors were mostly lower but shares pared some losses ahead of the close. London FTSE 100 slipped 0.3 percent, while its European counterparts fluctuated. France's CAC 40 closed off 0.3 percent, while Germany's DAX actually closed 0.2 percent higher.

Earlier in the day, the ECB chose to hold interest rates steady, keeping its main refinancing rate unchanged at 0.0 percent; the marginal lending rate unchanged at 0.25 percent and the deposit facility rate unchanged at -0.4 percent.

In the decision, the ECB announced it had started to expand their monthly purchases to 80 billion euros, and that it is focusing on the implementation of the non-standard measures decided at the last monetary policy meeting on March 10.

During the following press conference, Draghi warned that euro zone inflation might turn negative again in coming months. Since the central bank undertook the measures it did in March, the broad financing conditions saw signs of improvement, the ECB said. Draghi also stressed in the conference that the central bank hadn't talked about helicopter money.

The euro posted strong gains against the U.S. dollar, following the ECB decision and during the press conference, but fell back afterwards following Draghi's hawkish comments on helicopter money.

Crude falls lower

Overseas, Asia finished Thursday mostly higher, with Japanese markets leading the way on the back of a weaker yen.

Crude prices came under pressure on Thursday as concerns over a global glut took center stage after Russia and Iran said they were ready to raise oil production further, according to Reuters. Brent and U.S. crude fluctuated, trading around $44 and $43 a barrel respectively.

Metal prices however posted solid gains yet individual stocks saw declines. Anglo American fell over 5 percent, after the miner reported that its diamond production and iron ore production in Kumba had decreased in the quarter.

VW revs up, while Ericsson shares plummet

One of Europe's top movers was Volkswagen, up 5 percent, after it reached a deal in principle with the Justice Department on its excess diesel emissions.

Earnings continued to dominate on Thursday. Ericsson saw shares tank over 14 percent. This comes as the telecom firm announced a structural shake-up to boost profitability, after it missed profit and revenue expectations in the first quarter.

Elsewhere, Dassault Systemes proposed a 9 percent increase in its annual dividend for the 2015 fiscal year, while revenue for the first quarter came in at 693.5 million euros ($783.5 million). Shares however sunk 4 percent.

Pernod Ricard shares tumbled 4 percent after the drinks maker reported third-quarter sales that failed to meet market expectations.

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