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Europe stocks close slightly higher as auto firms announce job losses; Tesco up 2%

Key Points
  • Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said it will cut 10 percent of its workforce, mostly in its domestic U.K. market.
  • Ford also said that it would be cutting thousands of jobs as part of a turnaround effort aimed at achieving a 6 percent operating margin in Europe.
  • Tesco rose 2.1 percent after updating the markets on its Christmas performance. The grocery retailer said Thursday that it had outperformed its competitors with a 2.2 percent increase in Christmas sales.

European shares were little changed at the end of Thursday's trading session, as investors focused on trade war developments and automakers announcing job cuts.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished slightly higher, up 0.3 percent, with sectors seeing mixed results by the end of trade.

Autos were one of the worst-performing sectors, as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said it will cut 10 percent of its workforce, mostly in its domestic U.K. market. Ford also said that it would be cutting thousands of jobs as part of a turnaround effort aimed at achieving a 6 percent operating margin in Europe.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. stocks were mixed, as disappointment over a lack of details from the trade talks with China weighed on sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both trading higher, while the Nasdaq was slightly lower. Macy's shares tanked more than 18 percent after reporting its same-store sales grew by just 1.1 percent in November and December.

Christmas sales, auto job losses

Back in Europe, Osram fell to the bottom of the index, down by more than 6 percent. The lighting company said that there had been lower demand by auto firms.

Looking across the European benchmark, Sodexo was among the top performers, up by 2.5 percent. The French hospitality company reported sales figures that beat expectations and it also confirmed its outlook for the year.

The British Retail Consortium reported on Thursday that the U.K. high street saw its worst Christmas sales last year since the financial crisis in 2008, sending Europe's retail sector down half a percent. Retailer Marks & Spencer said its like-for-like Christmas sales for 2018 were down 2.2 percent from the previous year, sending shares down more than 1 percent. Meanwhile, Debenhams announced that it's in talks with lenders to receive fresh capital.

Tesco rose 2.1 percent after updating the markets on its Christmas performance. The grocery retailer said Thursday that it had outperformed its competitors with a 2.2 percent increase in Christmas sales.

In Europe, investors kept monitoring the Brexit process ahead of next week's critical vote. The U.K. Parliament agreed Wednesday that the government must come up with a plan-B within three days if the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved on Tuesday.