Europe Markets

Europe shares close higher as BOE holds rates; Neste down nearly 6%


European bourses closed mostly higher on Thursday as investors reacted to further earnings reports and a rate decision by the Bank of England.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.08 percent with sectors and major bourses moving in different directions. The FTSE 100 was up by 0.85 percent following the Bank of England's decision to keep interest rates unchanged.

Oil and gas stocks led the losses for most of the day amid worse-than-anticipated earnings. Neste reported a narrow miss on profits in the second quarter and shares of the Finnish oil refining firm slipped almost 6 percent.

On the other hand, retail stocks were among the best performing, up by 0.3 percent. British clothing retailer Next posted a return to quarterly sales growth on Thursday, supported by an improvement in product ranges and a spell of warmer weather. The company said full price sales rose 0.7 percent in the three months through June. Its shares surged almost 10 percent, hitting the top of the European benchmark.

Looking at individual stocks, Italy's largest bank by assets, Unicredit reported better-than-expected net profits in the second quarter of 2017. The lender attributed the uptick in performance to lower costs and a drop in loan-loss charges. Its shares were trading 7 percent higher.

German sportswear firm Adidas, posted another quarter of sales growth in China and North America on Thursday, as it profited from its retro styles and footwear. The firm said its sales grew almost 30 percent in China and around 26 percent in North America, although they fell 11 percent in the Russian market. Shares were slightly higher.

In the U.S., the Dow hovered at 22,000 supported by further earnings.

Sterling falls on BoE vote

Sterling fell 0.6 percent against the dollar following news that the Bank of England had voted 6-2 against a change in rates. The central bank said it forecasts inflation at around 3 percent in October. It downgraded its inflation forecast slightly on a three-year horizon.

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