European stocks close lower as rising yields put investors on edge

Key Points
  • Global markets have been jittery over the last 24 hours, after the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield topped 3 percent on Tuesday — the first time in more than four years.
  • Novozymes, Valeo, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Boerse, GSK, Statoil, Antofagasta, and Whitbread were just a handful of businesses to publish earnings reports.

European stocks closed lower Wednesday, as rising yields in the bond markets offset excitement surrounding corporate earnings.

European markets

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down 0.77 percent, with most sectors and all major bourses in the red. Basic resources stocks were down almost 1.8 percent while industrials were almost 1.7 percent lower. Overall, market players were worried with the impact of higher interest rates on the stock market, and more broadly, on the global economy.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield topped 3 percent on Tuesday — the first time it has done in more than four years. Investors around the world have been fixated on the 10-year note, with concerns looming that hitting the 3 percent barrier could trigger a reaction from financial markets both in the U.S. and internationally.

On Wall Street, stocks dropped, adding to losses from the previous trading session, with investors worried about the impact of higher interest rates.


Metso jumped to the top of the European benchmark Wednesday, up more than 7 percent after reporting an operating profit that was up by 28 percent in the first quarter. Credit Suisse rose 3.8 percent after delivering an earnings beat.

Kering was among the top performing stocks in Europe, up by 4.6 percent, after posting a strong first-quarter growth in sales.

The German lighting group Osram sank 17 percent, after cutting its forward guidance for the 2018 fiscal year. U.K. lender Metro Bank fell near to the bottom of the index, down by 7 percent, on rising costs. The bank added it might need an equity raise.

Sticking with the corporate space, the board of biotech firm Shire announced that it had received a revised acquisition proposal of £46 billion ($64 billion) from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. In a statement, the Irish group said it was willing to recommend this revised offer to its shareholders.

Looking to politics, President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to strive for stronger measures on Iran, in regards to the nuclear deal established in 2015.

The U.S. leader also revealed on Tuesday that NAFTA talks could be agreed on quickly, and showed positivity on the country's relationship with North Korea, saying that the Asian leader Kim Jong Un had been "very honorable" and wanted to hold a summit soon; Reuters reported.