Markets in Europe closed lower on Thursday as uncertainty surrounding internal U.S. policy continued to weigh on investor sentiment despite tensions easing between the U.S. and North Korea.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended down by 0.6 percent. Banking stocks fell more than 1.5 percent following minutes from the European Central Bank (ECB) Thursday showing concerns over a possible overshoot in the single currency. As a result, the euro fell to three-week lows against the dollar. The currency, which was down on the day against the dollar, was on track for its biggest daily loss in more than four months.
The construction and materials sector also dipped lower Thursday, led by falls for British home improvement retailer Kingfisher. The business reported a fall in quarterly sales Thursday as it struggled with a slowdown at its B&Q business and weakening demand from France. The results will hurt the company's restructuring plans and caused the stock to dip 4 percent.
Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas was down almost 8 percent, after reporting lower-than-expected operating profit in its second quarter results released Thursday. Despite this, the company has retained its forecast for 2017.
Swiss toilet maker Geberit was down 5.7 percent after missing second quarter profit expectations.
On the other end, shares of Swiss dental implant maker Straumann hit an all time high and rose 11.3 percent to the top of the European benchmark after earnings beat market expectations. The business also reported more than $150 million in acquisitions which should help grow the business.
Gn Store Nord, a Danish manufacturer of hearing instruments, rose 6 percent on reports that it is to produce over the counter hearing aids in the U.S.
U.S. Markets lower
Meanwhile, in the U.S. stocks were lower as retailers put an end to their earnings season. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped about 50 points at the open, with Wal-Mart contributing the most losses despite better-than-expected results.
President Donald Trump disbanded two high-profile business advisory councils Wednesday after seeing a mass exodus from chief executives over his response to violence in Charlottesville over the weekend. Meantime, minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting Wednesday showed policymakers divided over their view on inflation and their approach to interest rate hikes.
Meanwhile, in Spain, a van has crashed into dozens of people in the city center of Barcelona at about 4.30 p.m. London time. According to Reuters, there were several injured in a "massive crash" and emergency services said people should avoid the area.
Elsewhere, new data released by the British Chambers of Commerce Thursday showed that exporter confidence has softened due to currency fluctuations and a shortage of skilled workers post-Brexit. This comes as the Office for National Statistics announced that the number of EU citizens working in the U.K. has hit a record high.