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European stocks close lower; earnings eyed; Novozymes tanks 11.2%

European stocks closed in negative territory on Wednesday afternoon following lackluster trade on Wall Street and a decline in oil prices.

Earnings in focus

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The pan-European STOXX 600 closed 0.38 percent lower as investors digested a slew of earnings. Sectors were broadly negative with oil and gas and chemicals falling 1.08 percent and 1.25 percent respectively.

Earnings are in focus for investors in Europe on Wednesday with a number of banks reporting. Spain's Santander said net profit rose in the third quarter, beating analyst expectations, sending shares of the lender higher.

Meanwhile Nordea shares were in positive territory after it reported third-quarter operating profit of 1.15 billion euros ($1.25 billion), beating forecasts.

Lloyds Banking Group posted a third-quarter underlying profit of £1.9 billion ($2.31 billion), down 3 percent year-on-year. Britain's largest retail bank also took a £1 billion charge relating to the compensation of customers mis-sold loan insurance. Shares of the U.K. lender fell sharply before recovering to close 0.96 percent higher.

Elsewhere, France's Airbus reported core earnings falling 21 percent in the third quarter due to weakness in its commercial plane business. Shares reversed earlier losses to trade higher and ended the trading day 3.76 percent in the black.

Brewing giant Heineken was in the red after it said revenues grew 4.7 percent in the first half of the year, with beer volume up 4.1 percent. The company warned of increasing currency headwinds as well as adverse economic conditions in developing markets.

Novozymes meanwhile posted core earnings and sales that missed analyst forecasts and adjusted its outlook for full-year organic sales growth to 2-4 percent, down from 3-5 percent previously. Shares of the firm tanked to close 11.2 percent in the red.

Wall Street recovers to trade higher

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average recovered losses to trade 0.32 percent higher, after a weak open, as the broader S&P 500 index was trading flat. This came after earnings disappointed investors last night, particularly Apple which posted its first full-year decline in revenue since 2001.

Oil prices dipped in Asia trade after a rise in U.S. crude inventories and as hopes that OPEC will find a deal to cut production fade.

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Kering upgraded

In other stock news, major brokers including Goldman Sachs and Barclays raised their target price for Gucci owner Kering, sending the luxury goods maker nearly 8 percent higher.

Shares of Ericsson were sharply higher after the Swedish telecoms firm named Borje Ekholm as the new chief executive. Ekholm will start on January 16.

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