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European markets close lower on earnings; SocGen down 4%; Rio Tinto slips 2.8%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended 0.43 percent lower
  • Basic resources led the losses on Wednesday
  • The Dow Jones hit the 22,000 milestone

European bourses closed lower on Wednesday, as investors monitored mixed earnings reports.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the day down by 0.43 percent, with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

Basic resources led the losses on Wednesday, down more than 1.3 percent, amid earnings news. Rio Tinto reported a more than doubling of its first-half profit on Wednesday and rewarded shareholders with a record interim dividend. However, underlying earnings missed analyst forecasts and its shares dipped 2.8 percent.

Banking stocks were also lower on Wednesday after mixed results from European lenders. Societe Generale said net profit slumped 28 percent in the three months through June, as the Paris-based lender was hit by litigation costs and stubbornly low-interest rates. Its shares slipped more than 4 percent.

Meanwhile, Germany's Commerzbank posted a bigger-than-expected net loss in the second quarter due to weak markets and restructuring charges. Its shares were down 1.6 percent.

Dow hits 22,000 for the first time ever

In the U.S., Apple's shares soared more than 6 percent after hours to a record of over $159, taking its market capitalization beyond $830 billion.

The better-than-anticipated results from the world's most valuable company have helped the Dow push through the 22,000 mark shortly after markets opened. This is the first time it's ever happened.

Back in Europe, staff working in the parlors, maintenance and security departments at the Bank of England continue a three-day strike on Wednesday. Employees in the Unite trade union walked out Tuesday amid a dispute over an imposed below-inflation pay rise of 1 percent.

Sticking with the U.K., the National Institute of Economic and Social Research forecast growth would accelerate to 1.9 percent in 2018, up from 1.7 percent this year. The thinktank said that the fall in value of sterling since the Brexit vote would give a long-awaited boost to British exports.

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