Europe finishes mixed but FTSE rises after BOE rate hike; Credit Suisse pops 4.5%

Key Points
  • Bank of England has raised interest rates for the first time since 2007
  • In earnings, Playtech fell 22 percent after saying that its full-year performance will miss market expectations
  • President Donald Trump is expected to make his decision on who the next chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday

European stocks ended relatively mixed Thursday, as investors digested corporate earnings and reacted to a sharp fall in sterling.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 came off its session lows to close provisionally down 0.46 percent, with most sectors closing in the red.

Looking to bourses, France's CAC 40 slipped 0.07 percent by the close, while Germany's DAX fell 0.18 percent. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 pushed higher however, closing up 0.9 percent after the Bank of England made a change to its monetary policy strategy.

The U.K. central bank (BOE) raised interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, but signaled only gradual easing in the future. This "dovish" hike sent sterling lower and caused a rally in U.K. stocks with some major corporates earning most of their revenues in the U.S. dollar. At the market close, sterling was trading sharply down, last standing against the dollar at $1.306.

Nonetheless, some London-listed banks, RBS and Lloyds, fell into the red following the decision.

Market too focused on growth, not on inflation: Economist

Playtech sinks 22%; Credit Suisse beats forecasts

Aside from the big economic news coming out of the U.K., earnings continues to shake up sentiment in Europe on Thursday. British kitchen supplier Howden Joinery was crowned Europe's best performer, closing up over 10 percent, after posting a 8.2 percent increase in total U.K. depots revenue in its last quarter.

Credit Suisse shares meantime rose 4.5 percent after posting a near six-fold year-on-year rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday, beating analyst expectations amid an ongoing restructuring plan.

On the other end of the spectrum, Randgold dropped 7.2 percent after a decline in production hit its third-quarter profits.

Travel and leisure stocks were the worst performers in trade, closing 1.4 percent down, with Playtech slipping to the bottom of both the sector and STOXX 600. The online poker firm sank over 22 percent by the close, after saying that its full-year performance will miss market expectations.

Health care slipped 1 percent as a sector following disappointing earnings news. Sanofi dropped 1.23 percent after saying that sales at its diabetes arm fell. Its third-quarter results were also slightly lower than expectations but the company confirmed its 2017 outlook.

New Fed chair

Investors are anxiously awaiting news of who's going to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve. President Donald Trump is expected to make his decision on Thursday.

Fed Governor Jay Powell has been a recent favorite to take on the position from current Chair Janet Yellen — who's also a key candidate — in early 2018. Around the market close, U.S., equities traded flat to mostly lower, as investors on Wall Street were left somewhat disappointed by a few details already released about the Republicans' tax-reform plan.

Elsewhere, in late European trade, a Spanish judge issued a European arrest warrant for Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four members of his ousted cabinet, according to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.

Eight former Catalan ministers were remanded in custody as part of the ongoing investigation into the Catalonia region's independence bid. A ninth was released on bail. The nine leaders had appeared for questioning at the court, according to Reuters.