Europe finishes sharply lower as earnings weigh; mining stocks tumble

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 1.05 percent provisionally, with all sectors and major bourses in ending negative territory
  • Basic resources led the losses, finishing down 2.44 percent
  • Brexit talks resume Thursday with both sides hoping to break a deadlock in negotiations before the end of the year

European stocks posted sharp declines by Thursday's market close, as a string of corporate earnings triggered negative moves across sectors and bourses.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed sharply lower, down 1.11 percent provisionally on Thursday, with all sectors and major bourses ending in negative territory.

Looking to major bourses, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.61 percent, while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX tumbled further, closing down 1.16 and 1.49 percent respectively.

Basic resources led the losses Thursday, ending the day down 2.44 percent. Several miners posted sharp declines on the back of a drop in metal prices, with nickel dropping over 2.5 percent by the market close.

ArcelorMittal's shares meanwhile slumped 3.4 percent after EU anti-trust regulators said they would investigate whether its proposed purchase of Italian steel plant Ilva would lead to price hikes, Reuters reported.

While all sectors finished lower, Europe's banking index saw some of its stocks rise during trade. Germany's Commerzbank posted a net profit in the third quarter as the lender continued to focus on a major overhaul. Its shares popped 2.35 percent higher on the news.

Several Italian banks closed sharply higher, with BPER Banca jumping 9.9 percent, after it strengthened its core capital ratio during its third quarter, Reuters reported. Insurer Aegon also rose sharply, finishing up 4.8 percent, after third quarter underlying pretax profit beat market expectations.

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German sportswear firm Adidas posted another strong quarter of sales and profit growth Thursday, driven by expansion in China and North America, where it has been taking market share from rival Nike. Its shares however fell 4.67 percent by the close.

Luxury brand Burberry tumbled 10 percent, with Reuters citing investor concern after the U.K. company outlined Thursday the cost of its new transformation, including store refurbishment.

Vestas meantime tanked more than 19 percent after the firm lowered its 2017 profit margin outlook. The world's largest maker of wind turbines cited increased competition and uncertainty over U.S. tax reform as likely challenges to its industry over the coming months.

'Unfair trade practices'

Back in Europe, Brexit talks resume Thursday with both sides hoping to break a deadlock in negotiations before the end of the year. With time running out to secure a deal before the U.K. departs the bloc in March 2019, European officials have asked Britain to make a satisfactory offer on the Brexit divorce bill.

On Thursday, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that Britain's decision on whether to stand by the "European model" or dispose of regulation after it leaves the European Union will have influence on the shape of a future trade deal it has with the political-economic bloc, Reuters reported.

Speaking of trade, President Donald Trump's tour of Asia remained in the spotlight. Trump addressed the U.S.-China trade deficit during a speech in Beijing Thursday, saying he would work on resolving "unfair trade practices."

Overseas, U.S. equities posted sharp declines around Europe's market close, with a drop in technology stocks dragging on investor sentiment. Tech stocks in Europe sank 2.25 percent as a sector.