Markets

European stocks close as investors digest data and interest rate decisions

Key Points
  • Both the Bank of England and Sweden's Riksbank will announce interest rate decisions on Thursday, with the latter expected to lift rates out of negative territory.
  • Stateside, there was little market movement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of congress,

European stocks ended the shift mixed Thursday as investors digested economic data and interest rate decisions from central banks, with markets showing minimal reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump's impeachment.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered around the flatline all day, closing 0.09% higher.

Sweden's Riksbank ended five years of negative interest rates on Thursday morning, hiking its benchmark repo rate by a quarter point to 0.0%.

The Bank of England held its main interest rate steady at 0.75% with its rate-setting committee voting 7-2 in favor of keeping the current level, and cut its fourth-quarter U.K. GDP growth forecast from +0.2% to +0.1%.

The central bank maintained the dovish stance exhibited after its previous meeting, commenting in an accompanying statement: "If global growth fails to stabilize or Brexit uncertainties remain entrenched, monetary policy may need to reinforce the expected U.K. recovery."

Stateside, there was little market movement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of congress.

The queen outlined the new U.K. government's plans on Thursday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party secured a significant majority in last week's general election.

In corporate news, Airbus is set to end 2019 with an increase in its order backlog, Reuters reported on Wednesday citing a senior executive, beating arch-rival Boeing in both orders and deliveries.

Meanwhile German automakers Daimler and BMW said Wednesday that they plan to exit the North American car sharing market due to the "volatile state of the global mobility landscape."

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Stocks on the move

Finnish pharmaceutical company Orion Corp saw its shares climb more than 4% in trade, while Clariant gained 2.1% after the Swiss chemicals company sold its Masterbatches unit for $1.6 billion and announced a planned payout to shareholders.

At the other end of the European benchmark, NMC Health shares slipped 11.1%, continuing to suffer the fallout of an attack by short-seller hedge fund Muddy Waters, while Hugo Boss fell 0.7% after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock.