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European stocks rebound to close higher; WPP tanks 14%

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up around 0.5 percent despite steep losses shortly after the opening bell.
  • Among the major bourses, France's CAC index was the top performer, up 1.6 percent.
  • The ECB took no action on Thursday in Frankfurt, leaving its benchmark interest rates unchanged.

European stocks ended higher on average Thursday, as investors digested corporate earnings and reacted to the European Central Bank (ECB) decision to leave rates unchanged.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended provisionally higher 0.51 percent after a dip on Thursday morning. Among the major bourses, France's CAC index was the top performer, up 1.60 percent.

The FTSE 100 in London ended 0.59 percent higher while the DAX in Frankfurt closed up by 1.03 percent.

Europe's autos stocks led the gains Thursday afternoon, jumping 3.15 percent amid earnings news. France's PSA Peugeot Citroen was a top sectoral performer after its quarterly earnings were well received by investors. Shares of the Paris-listed stock ended Thursday 6.95 percent higher. 

The tire maker Continental was the sector's biggest gainer however, closing higher by 7.65 percent after announcing that its third quarter adjusted operating result would be a bit higher than previously forecast.

Meanwhile, media stocks slipped on average. The sector was dragged lower by WPP, as the world's largest advertising agency slashed its outlook for the year on Thursday. It also reported a steep decline in trading, prompting shares to tank 13.96 percent.

British Airways parent International Airlines Group admitted Thursday that up to 185,000 additional payment cards may have been compromised by hackers. However the airline owner revised down its original estimate of 380,000 card payments to 244,000.

Once the additions and subtractions were finalized the total number of cards potentially affected stood at 429,000. Shares dipped and then pared losses to finish the session 3.82 percent.

Looking across the European benchmark, German manufacturer Kion Group rose 12.73 percent after reporting third-quarter results.

UBS also reported stronger-than-expected results Thursday morning on the back of higher loan volumes, as well as strong growth in equities and foreign exchange trading. Shares were 1.09 percent higher by the end of the session

ECB meeting

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank (ECB) took no action on Thursday, leaving its benchmark interest rates unchanged.

The interest rate on the main refinancing operation, the marginal lending facility, and the deposit facility sit at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.40% respectively. The expectation is that these rates remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019.

The bank also reiterated that net asset purchases by the ECB will sit at the current monthly pace of €15 billion euro until the end of December, when the central bank has said the buying will stop.

Shortly after the speech the euro hits fresh low of 1.1376, its lowest level since August 17.