European markets close mixed after Trump-Kim summit ends abruptly; Zalando up 23%

Key Points
  • Topics of focus for investors: Brexit, US-China trade dispute, Trump-Kim meeting in Vietnam, corporate news.
  • Zalando shares ended the session 23 percent higher after the company said it expects solid growth this year.
  • Rolls-Royce shares were 2.8 percent lower after disappointing results.

European stocks closed mixed on Thursday, as investors kept abreast of geopolitical news taking place across the globe.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up 0.12 percent, with sectors and major bourses in mixed territory.

Basic resources were the worst performers, down by more than 2 percent, on the back of renewed trade worries and fresh data. On Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer stated in front of the House Ways and Means committee that he foresaw long-term hurdles ahead.

On Thursday morning, Chinese factory activity numbers dropped to a three-year low in February — raising fears about economic activity in the world's second-largest economy.

In earnings news, Adecco dropped 3 percent after reporting its fourth-quarter results. Zalando rose to the top of the index, up 23 percent, after announcing that it expects solid growth this year. The French retailer Carrefour also jumped 2.5 percent after increasing its savings goals.

Elsewhere, Rolls-Royce shares were down by almost 3 percent after the company posted a £2.9 billion loss for 2018. The engineering giant's loss came as it increased the charge for fixing problems with its Trent 1000 engines. On Thursday Rolls-Royce also announced it would back out of the race to power Boeing's new jet.

British Airways owner IAG said on Thursday it expected earnings for this year to be flat as it posted its 2018 results, which were in line with expectations and showed growth in operating profit. Shares were 0.2 percent lower at the closing bell.

Meanwhile, a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam was cut short after the latter asked for an end to sanctions. The two nations have worked towards stronger relations and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. stocks edged lower on Thursday following the summit's abrupt end, with a handful of weak corporate earnings reports also weighing on sentiment.