Europe Markets

European stocks close lower amid earnings, trade uncertainty; Asos down 20%

Key Points
  • SAP, Novartis, Publicis and Danske Bank are among the major corporates reporting earnings.
  • U.S.-China trade talks are reportedly at an impasse over restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

European stocks closed lower on Thursday as investors digested fresh corporate results and kept an eye on global trade developments.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.2% at the closing bell, with technology stocks trimming earlier losses to trade 1.4% lower on the back of German giant SAP's slide. Health care stocks led gains with a 0.8% rise.

Investors are staying across the latest earnings season, with a slew of companies reporting their results this week. SAP stock fell 5.6% after Europe's most valuable tech company's quarterly revenue and adjusted operating profit came in below expectations, dragging down tech stocks throughout the continent.

Novartis beat analyst expectations for the second quarter, reporting strong results and raising its guidance for the year, leading its shares 3% higher.

Danske Bank's second-quarter pretax profit came in below expectations on Thursday hit by low interest rates and higher costs associated with compliance in the aftermath of a money-laundering scandal at its Estonian branch. Its shares edged into positive territory by the end of the session.

Swedish engineering company Indutrade plummeted 11% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after its earnings report, while compatriot Epiroc rose almost 6%.

Asos shares slumped more than 20.5% on Thursday after the British online fashion retailer issued its third profit warning in eight months.

Also in focus is the U.S.-China trade spat. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that trade negotiations between the world's two largest economies are at an impasse over restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

In terms of data, U.K. retail sales figures for June unexpectedly rose by 1% month-on-month, substantially exceeding analyst expectations and providing a much-needed lift for the jittery economy.