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European stocks close lower; US GDP rises 2.9%

European markets closed slightly lower Friday as the earnings season continues amid heightened expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise rates in the near-term.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was off its session lows, but nonetheless provisionally closed down 0.32 percent. The FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.15 percent while the German DAX was off 0.24 percent. In France the CAC 40 up by 0.24 percent.

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U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased at a 2.9 percent annual rate, its fastest pace in two years. In addition to that, strong U.S. home sales data on Wednesday, which showed a surprise uptick in September, along with other positive numbers earlier in the month, has left investors with higher expectations of a Fed rate hike in the U.S.

In lunchtime trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.36 percent while the broader S&P 500 was 0.27 percent higher.

The positive gross domestic product data out of the U.K. on Wednesday also led to a sell-off in U.K. government bonds, which filtered through to other global bonds, leading to rising yields. The positive economic outlook often makes the safe haven bid for bonds less attractive.


UBS profit plummets

Banks are in focus with a number of European lenders reporting. Swiss bank UBS has posted a 60 percent year-on-year slump in third-quarter net profit, saying macroeconomic, geopolitical and market challenges weighed on performance. UBS shares were 2.37 percent higher.

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Meanwhile, French bank BNP Paribas recovered from a day in negative territory after it reported better-than-expected net profit and revenues in the third quarter of this year to end the day 0.64 percent higher.

Shares of Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland ended the day 1.2 percent lower after reporting a third-quarter loss of £469 million ($570.7 million).

AB InBev loses fizz

Elsewhere, Anheuser Busch InBev reported a decline in volumes in the third quarter, while core profit fell on a weak Brazil market. The maker of Budweiser lowered its outlook for the full year sending shares plummeting to close 4.3 percent down.

Novo Nordisk was forced to trim its full-year sales and operating profit guidance due to weakness in the U.S. after reporting operating profit that fell 3 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period last year. The news sent shares tanking as much as 19 percent before paring some of those losses to end the day 14.97 percent down.

French drugmaker Sanofi closed 3.73 percent higher after it posted expectation-beating earnings and lifted its outlook for the year.

Total reported better-than-expected third quarter net profit thanks to a rise in output and cost savings, the French oil and gas major said, but shares ended the day in negative territory, down 0.37 percent.

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