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Europe closes higher as investors digest US tax overhaul; Nokia rises on Huawei deal

  • Pan-European STOXX 600 reversed early morning losses to end the day's trading up nearly 0.6 percent
  • International markets offered a relatively muted reaction to the passage of the tax bill in the U.S. on Wednesday
  • Catalonia went to the polls Thursday for a regional election following several months of political turbulence and uncertainty

European stocks closed higher on Thursday after the U.S. Congress approved an overhaul of the U.S. tax code that will cut corporate tax rates.

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FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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IBEX 35
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The pan-European STOXX 600 reversed early morning losses to end the day's trading up over 0.5 percent, with all sectors except utilities moving up. Oil and gas was the best performing sector, finishing over 1.4 percent higher.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed at a record high, up over 1 percent.

Markets, in general, offered something of a muted reaction to the passage of the tax bill in the U.S., following a modest rally earlier this week. However, U.S. markets were trading higher Thursday after some companies said that they would reinvest savings from lower corporate taxes into higher wages and construction projects.

The sweeping changes to the tax code will see the corporate tax rate drop from 35 percent to 21 percent but the bill's critics say it favors the wealthy and analysis shows it will add nearly $1.5 trillion to the U.S. deficit. The bill is now set to go to President Donald Trump's desk to be signed into law, although the exact timing of that ceremony is unclear.

Nokia rises on Huawei deal

Looking at individual stock news, shares of Finnish network equipment maker Nokia rose throughout Thursday's trade after it signed a patent licensing deal with Chinese technology giant Huawei. Nokia closed up nearly 4 percent.

U.K. housebuilder Balfour Beatty finished the London session up over 2 percent. The firm posted strong gains after it sold a 12.5 percent stake in highway operator Connect Plus, boosting profit for the year.

Meantime, Beazley was another top performer, closing the day's trade up over 3 percent after Bernstein upgraded its rating and price target on the insurer.

But Deutsche Bank shares ended the day's trade lower by 0.72 percent after it announced plans on Wednesday to cut up to 1,000 jobs as part of the integration of Postbank.

Catalonia in focus

Catalonia goes to the polls Thursday for a regional election following several months of political turbulence and uncertainty. Spain's government sacked the regional government in Catalonia after it declared independence in October. Polls show the vote is too close to call between secessionist and pro-unity parties. Results are due late Thursday evening.

Spain's IBEX 35 ended Thursday's trade up just under 1 percent.

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