Europe Markets

European stocks close lower as financial stocks weigh; Provident tumbles 17%


European stocks closed lower on Wednesday after subprime lender Provident issued a profit warning.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.18 percent with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

European stocks appeared to continue where they left off from the previous session on Wednesday with financial services and insurance stocks leading the losses.

Britain's Provident slumped to the bottom of the benchmark on Wednesday after the firm issued a profit warning. The London-based company said it expects operational disruption from the reorganization of its home credit division to weigh on full-year profits. Its shares tumbled more than 17 percent.

Elsewhere, Britain's Whitbread - which operates the Costa Coffee chain and Premier Inn hotels, said its group sales had increased 7.6 percent in the first three months of the year. The firm had previously warned of tougher trading ahead and said its performance up to June 2 had been in line with expectations. Its shares jumped more than 3 percent on the news.

Meanwhile, as expected, oil was once again front and center on for both European bourses and markets overseas on Wednesday. Prices hovered near multi-month lows as investors discounted evidence of robust compliance by OPEC and non-OPEC producers with a deal to remove a global supply overhang.

Brent crude traded $45.83 a barrel in afternoon trading, down 0.41 percent, while U.S. crude was around $43.40 a barrel, up 0.25 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks traded mixed on Wednesday as oil prices tried to rebound from a sharp fall during the previous session.

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