Europe Markets

Europe ends under pressure as oil prices tumble on OPEC; Petrofac tanks 30%

Oil prices tumble after OPEC ministers speak

European markets struggled to end on a positive note Thursday as a sharp fall in oil prices weighed on sentiment, following news that OPEC would be extending its production cuts.

The pan-European failed to hold onto gains, closing 0.06 percent down in what had been a choppy trading session. Sectors finished mixed to lower, however, households goods and financial services closed with solid gains.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 finished roughly flat, up 0.04 percent, while the French CAC and German DAX fell, closing down 0.08 percent and 0.17 percent respectively. Peripheral indexes closed mixed.

Despite posting solid gains in early trade, oil came under sharp pressure after an OPEC delegate told reporters in Vienna that oil production would be cut for an additional nine months in a bid to stem a supply glut and boost struggling oil prices. At the European close, Reuters reported citing OPEC delegates, that non-OPEC producers had also agreed to join OPEC in extending production cuts.

The news dampened sentiment, as some investors' had hoped that the group might reduce output even more. Shortly after Europe's market close, oil prices hit fresh session lows, with Brent crude oil slumping to $52.98 at 4.30 p.m. BST before extending losses, while U.S. WTI hit $50.28 before going below $50 after the close.

Oil and gas stocks sank 1.19 percent by the close, with Amec Foster and Tullow Oil falling more than 3.5 percent each. Meanwhile, U.K. producer Petrofac finished off its lows but tanked 29.95 percent. This was primarily due however to an investigation by the U.K.'s fraud regulator into allegations of corruption and bribery. Its Chief Operating Officer Marwan Chedid has been suspended.

Saudi energy min: 9 month extension could be prolonged

Sticking with Europe's biggest movers and shakers, Daily Mail and General Trust shares tumbled 6.84 percent after the media firm reported an 11 percent drop in adjusted operating profit for 2017's first half.

Meanwhile, Intermediate Capital Group shot up 14 percent, after delivering a strong set of earnings results. Brick manufacturer Wienerberger also ended near the top of the STOXX 600, jumping over 6 percent.

Elsewhere, British food ingredients produced Tate & Lyle reported a 17 percent increase in sales for the year to March, having benefited from a weaker sterling following the U.K.'s Brexit vote. However, the stock finished down more than 5 percent.

Markets in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland are closed Thursday for Ascension Day.

Elsewhere on the agenda Thursday, Trump is met with EU and NATO leaders in Brussels in the latest leg of his first international tour. He called on NATO members to spend more money on fighting terrorism.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released its minutes from its May meeting, which showed Fed officials seemed to be in sync with how they hope to reduce their $4.5 trillion balance sheet. The news helped continue to boost U.S. stocks on Thursday.

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