European markets end on a positive note amid earnings and data; GKN slips 4.8%

Key Points
  • The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.78 percent by the market close, with almost all sectors ending the trading day in the black.
  • Construction and materials was the top performing sector Thursday, on the back of earnings

European equities finished in positive territory on Thursday, as investors digested the latest corporate earnings and data releases.

The pan-European STOXX 600 provisionally rose 0.78 percent by the market close, with almost all sectors ending the trading day in the black. Sentiment remained boosted throughout afternoon trade, as markets in the U.S. bounced back and traded higher Thursday.

Looking to bourses, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 popped 0.19 percent, while France's CAC 40 rose 0.66 percent and Germany's DAX closed up 0.55 percent.

Construction and materials was Europe's top performing sector Thursday, rising 1.95 percent, on the back of earnings news. French firm Bouygues jumped 5.17 percent after reporting higher sales and profits in the first nine months of the year.

Financial services rose 1.55 percent as a sector, with Close Brothers Group rising 5.3 percent after it said that it remains well positioned in the current fiscal year as it continued to see strong profitability. 3i Group, meanwhile, popped 2 percent after reporting a lower return in the first half of its fiscal year but an increase in net asset value per share.

Looking across the European benchmark, British Land rose over 3.5 percent after the property developer delivered a strong performance during the first half of the year, and said that it still saw signs of "healthy demand" for U.K. office space, despite Brexit.

Elsewhere, Genmab closed up 6.8 percent after Bernstein starting with an "outperform" rating on the biotech stock.

Geopolitical risks support oil prices, analyst says

At the other end, Sodexo fell almost 2 percent, though it reported higher net profit and revenue for the fiscal year ending in August, but slightly below consensus. The rest of travel and leisure's stocks closed in the black.

GKN hit the bottom of the benchmark, slipping 4.76 percent, after it announced a new write-off and new leadership. Kevin Cummings is leaving the firm with immediate effect, Reuters reported.

Swedish appliance maker Electrolux said Thursday that it expects the "overall positive demand trend" seen across the majority of markets in 2017 to continue next year, saying that it foresees demand in North America to grow by 2 to 3 percent. Shares however fell 2.5 percent.

In other corporate news, the U.S. fund Cerberus has taken a 3 percent stake in the German lender Deutsche Bank, becoming one of its largest shareholders. The bank rose 2.6 percent.

The only sector which closed lower was oil and gas, which was under pressure as oil prices dipped into negative territory during trade.

In terms of data, retail sales numbers in the U.K. came in higher-than-expected, showing an increase of 0.3 percent month-on-month in October. The news sent the sterling higher, while British retailers delivered a mixed picture by the close.

A second reading of euro zone inflation showed the headline annual inflation rate at 1.4 percent in October. Excluding energy and food, inflation stood at 1.1 percent in October.