European stocks close mixed as US-China trade row escalates; Adidas soars 9.4%

  • Retail stocks rose during afternoon deals to close 1.3 percent higher, while the oil and gas sector was 0.8 percent lower amid growing geopolitical tensions.
  • Cineworld and Adidas topped the European benchmark following earnings.
  • Security firm G4S foundered to close 7.8 percent in the red after reporting a fall in its first-half profit.

European stocks revealed a mixed picture at the market close on Thursday amid a deepening U.S.-China trade dispute and a flurry of corporate earnings.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.1 percent higher with sectors pointing in different directions. Retail stocks rose during afternoon deals to close 1.3 percent higher, while the oil and gas sector was 0.8 percent lower amid growing geopolitical tensions.

The U.S. administration is to punish Russia with sanctions over the Kremlin's alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England. According to State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, the sanctions will go into effect on or around August 22.

Meanwhile, China on Wednesday imposed additional tariffs of 25 percent on $16 billion worth of U.S. fuel and steel imports, in retaliation to planned extra duties from the U.S. on Chinese products set to be enforced from August 23.

Looking at individual stocks, Cineworld topped the European benchmark on Thursday, closing 10.8 percent higher. The movie theater operator published a 10.8 percent rise in its half-year revenue as superhero films such as "Black Panther" and "Incredibles 2" boosted U.S. sales.

Adidas also outperformed following its earnings report. Shares in the sportswear company closed 9.4 percent to the upside after it posted a stronger-than-anticipated second-quarter net profit, despite taking an impairment charge on its struggling Reebok brand.

Pandora shares pushed higher during the afternoon to close 3.7 percent up. The Danish jewelry company's chief executive announced that he was leaving his position on Thursday. One day prior, the firm issued a profit warning.

At the other end of the index, G4S foundered to close 7.8 percent in the red after reporting a fall in its first-half profit. The world's largest security group saw its latest figures take a hit from restructuring costs and weaker Middle East revenues.

Shares of Tui closed 2.5 percent lower, paring back losses made earlier on in trade. The travel company said that it was on track to deliver a 10 percent rise in profit this year, sticking to its guidance.

S&P close to all-time high

In the U.S., stocks opened little changed on Thursday as the S&P 500 was within striking distance of reaching an all-time high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose just 1 point as DowDuPont outperformed. The S&P 500 traded flat as materials outperformed. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2 percent as Amazon shares hit an all-time high while Apple rose nearly 1 percent.