European markets close lower; banks rally 2%; Metrobank up 4.34%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by 0.47 percent with most sectors trading in negative territory
  • Banking stocks had rallied 2 percent by the close Wednesday following several rating upgrades in the banking sector
  • Sainsbury's announced a record Christmas week and Taylor Wimpey forecast further growth in 2018

European equities closed lower on Wednesday afternoon as investors monitored corporate earnings and fresh data.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by 0.47 percent with most sectors trading in negative territory.

Telecoms was the worst-performing sector, dropping throughout the day's trade to finish 1.89 percent lower. In particular, Swedish mobile operator Tele2 was over 7.5 percent down as some investors doubted the company would see near-term profits after buying cable group Com Hem. Altice finished the day's trade over 7.2 percent to the downside as investors are concerned about the telecoms market in Europe.

By contrast, banking stocks rallied throughout the day, ending trading up over 2 percent. This was due to several rating upgrades in the banking sector. Metro Bank performed well, climbing earlier in the day and steadying at over 4.3 percent in afternoon trade. Commerzbank topped the sector, up 5.14 percent.

Insurance as well as financial services — albeit by a small margin — were the only other sectors in the green.

Spread better IG group closed 4.36 percent lower after the Financial Conduct Authority published a letter about its findings of a review of the CFD (contract for difference) market.

Sainsbury's shares rallied during the session, finishing 2.2 percent higher in the afternoon after the company announced a record Christmas week.

Taylor Wimpey was over 4 percent lower by the market close despite it announcing 2017 results in line with expectations and forecast further growth in 2018. The housebuilder also mentioned that its order book was down.

Luxury retailer Ted Baker moved higher throughout the day, closing nearly 10 percent to the upside after posting an increase in sales during its Christmas period.

U.S. stocks open lower

In the U.S., stocks were trading lower over investor worries that China may stop buying U.S. sovereign bonds. The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped over 100 points while the S&P 500 declined 0.3 percent.

In terms of data, November output data in the U.K. came in higher-than-expected at 0.4 percent year-on-year compared to an estimated contraction of 1.1 percent, Reuters reported.