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European shares ended mostly higher Thursday, as investors digested the latest news surrounding Brexit, while keeping a close eye on comments coming from central bankers in Washington.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 eked out minor gains at the end of trade, closing provisionally 0.03 percent. Sectors finished the day mostly in the black.
In bourses news, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 popped 0.30 percent, boosted by a rise in mining stocks and a drop in sterling; while Germany's DAX finished off its highs, up 0.09 percent. In trade, Germany's benchmark index hit a fresh record high, topping 13,000 points — the first time in its 30-year history.
France's CAC 40 however slipped 0.03 percent following data which showed that consumer prices were up 1.1 percent on the year in September, but 0.2 percent lower from the previous month.
Travel and leisure rose 0.58 percent as a sector, with Lufthansa closing up 2.3 percent. The German airline said it will sign a contract with Air Berlin Thursday to acquire some of the latter's assets after it became insolvent. Fellow rival Easyjet rose 2.48 percent.
Basic resources posted strong sectoral gains Thursday, closing up 0.7 percent, boosted by an uptick in metal prices, specifically nickel and copper.
Looking at individual stocks, Just Eat was the Stoxx 600's top performer, soaring 6.5 percent, after competition authorities have provisionally approved its bid for Hungryhouse.
Meanwhile, Burberry hit a 2.5 year high during Thursday's trade, closing up 2.65 percent, after Mirabaud raised its rating on the luxury group from "hold" to "buy". Shares of Sky popped 1.42 percent after posting a like-for-like revenue rise of 5 percent in the current year.
Dong Energy, however, slumped 4.38 percent, after Goldman Sachs concluded the sale of its remaining 2.7 percent share in the Danish firm.
Europe's banking sector fell in afternoon trade, closing down 0.62 percent. This comes as investors eye the latest earnings from the U.S.' financial sector. JPMorgan Chase reported third quarter earnings which were well above estimates, yet bond trading revenue declined by 27 percent. In Europe, Italian banks led the losses, which weighed on the FTSE MIB index.
On Thursday, sterling came under pressure around midday London time, after news emerged that Brexit negotiations had stalled. In Brussels, the European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier announced that Brexit talks were at an "impasse".
Barnier went on to say at a news conference that the U.K. had supposedly told the EU that it wasn't ready to specify how much the nation should pay in exit fees.
At 4:30 p.m. London time, the British pound came off session lows, trading down 0.42 percent against the U.S. dollar at $1.316.
The International Energy Agency said Thursday that global stock builds, rising non-OPEC production and sluggish growth in demand could weigh on the oil price. Oil prices sank 1.5 percent or more by Europe's market close.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has given the Catalan government eight days to drop its independence bid, a decision made after meetings Wednesday.
Should the region fail to do so, Rajoy will suspend its political autonomy and rule via the central government in Madrid. Spain's Ibex 35 closed roughly flat by the close.
European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi and several other central bankers are speaking in Washington on Thursday. Just a handful of weeks before the ECB decides whether to extend stimulus, ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet said in Washington that while growth in the euro zone may be bouncing back, the disconnect between inflation and growth remains — therefore, the central bank will need to remain patient, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to promote health care choice and competition. Sticking with the U.S., stocks traded mixed around Europe's close, as traders digested the latest corporate news.