European stocks closed provisionally lower Thursday, as investors reacted to a flurry of corporate earnings and monitored losses from Wall Street.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down half a percent, with almost most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
Telecommunications stocks were among the worst performers, dragged down by Danish telecoms operator TDC. Shares of TDC slumped toward the bottom of the pan-European benchmark on Thursday after reports it had reached a deal to buy Swedish Modern Times Group's broadcasting and entertainment's business. The firm's stock fell 8 percent.
Vodafone reported its latest figures Thursday. The world's second-largest mobile operator reported a 1.1 percent rise in organice revenue for its third quarter, citing intense competition in Spain and Italy. Its shares were down more than 4 percent.
Looking at individual stocks, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell reported that profits more than doubled in the fourth quarter of 2017 on Thursday, supported by a recent rally in oil and gas prices. Its shares were trading more than 2 percent lower, however.
Spain's second-largest bank, BBVA, reported a 90 percent fall in fourth-quarter net profit when compared to the same period a year earlier. The lender cited a 1.1 billion euro ($1.4 billion) writedown on its Telefonica stake. Shares of BBVA were down more than 1 percent.
On the data front, factories across the euro zone grew strongly in January, according to Markit's latest healthcheck on the sector. The IHS manufacturing PMI came in at 59.6, slightly lower than from December's record high of 60.6. The data means that euro zone's factories have been expanding for 55 consecutive months.
Stateside, equities were lower, giving back some of the strong gains made during the previous month. The Federal Reserve flagged interest rate policy tightening later this year and upgraded its inflation outlook on Wednesday. The U.S. central bank also kept interest rates on hold at its first policy meeting of the year on Wednesday. U.S. traders are also anticipating data nonfarm payrolls due Thursday for an indication of the health of the country's economy.