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Europe shares close lower; Tesco up 7.2%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.6 percent lower with all major bourses and most sectors trading in negative territory.
  • Chemicals, financial services and travel and leisure were the worst performing sectors, all down 1.14 percent at the market close.
  • Tesco shares topped the European benchmark, rallying during afternoon trade to close up 7.2 percent.

Equities in Europe closed lower Wednesday afternoon as investors began to focus on earnings at the start of a new reporting season.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished 0.6 percent lower with all major bourses and most sectors trading in negative territory.

Of the major indices, the German DAX led the drop, closing 0.8 percent in the red.

Chemicals, financial services and travel and leisure were the worst performing sectors, all down 1.14 percent at the market close.

Food and beverage stocks, despite being the worst performing in morning trade, performed comparatively better in the afternoon, down by 0.9 percent. Swiss chocolate-maker Barry Callebaut dropped to the bottom of the index, falling throughout the afternoon to close 8.4 percent lower. This was after the company said volume growth was set to slow in the second half of its financial year, Reuters reported.

The French spirits group Remy Cointreau dragged the food and beverages sectors lower, after a ratings downgrade by J.P. Morgan. The stock closed 4.3 percent lower on Wednesday afternoon.

Tesco jumps 7 percent

Retail stocks were the best performing on earnings news, closing up over 0.9 percent. Tesco shares topped the European benchmark, rallying during afternoon trade to close up 7.2 percent. In the morning, the U.K. grocer had announced its first dividend in four years. The company reported a profit of £1.3 billion ($1.85 billion) in its latest financial year.

Deutsche Telekom was also near the top of the European benchmark, although during the final hours of trade it pared some gains to close up by 2.8 percent. The strong day of trading was due to reports that Sprint has restarted talks to merge with T-Mobile U.S.

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Meanwhile, the European Commission raided the offices of Twenty-First Century Fox in London. According to The Daily Telegraph, investigators will remain in the premises possible until Thursday, but they have not disclosed any information about the reasons behind their presence.

In other corporate affairs, Volkswagen is set to replace its Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller with the Herbert Diess, Reuters reported. The carmaker closed 0.9 percent higher.

U.S. stocks lower after Trump taunts Russia

Stateside, stocks fell Wednesday after President Donald Trump taunted Russia on Twitter to "get ready" for a possible missile strike on Syria.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 87 points after trading more than 200 points lower, with Goldman Sachs and DowDuPont as the biggest decliners in the index. The S&P 500 declined 0.1 percent, with telecommunications as the worst-performing sector. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.1 percent after trading lower earlier in the session, as Netflix rose more than 3 percent.