Europe Markets

European stocks close lower as ECB leaves policy unchanged

Key Points
  • International investors digested the latest growth data from China Thursday for further clues on how the world's second-largest economy is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The European Central Bank opted Thursday to keep its interest rates and emergency coronavirus stimulus program unchanged, while it monitors the economic strength of the euro zone.

European stocks finished in negative territory on Thursday, failing to get a boost from Chinese growth data showing a rebound in the economy.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 slid 0.46%, with the travel and leisure sector dropping 1.9% to lead losses while construction and material stocks bucked the trend to add 0.5%.

The European Central Bank opted Thursday to keep its interest rates and emergency coronavirus stimulus program unchanged, while it monitors the economic strength of the euro zone.

International investors began the session digesting the latest growth data from China Thursday, which revealed that the country's GDP grew by 3.2% in the second quarter of this year, compared to a year ago. This beat analysts' expectations of 2.5% growth and rebounding from the first quarter's contraction. Stocks in Asia Pacific closed lower on Thursday following the data, nonetheless.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on sentiment as the U.S. reports rising numbers of new coronavirus cases. White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci is pushing back against Trump administration efforts to discredit him, calling the campaign "bizarre" and saying he will not step down. 

Fauci on Wednesday predicted that the U.S. will meet its goal of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, telling Reuters in an interview that he feels "good about the projected timetable."

On Wall Street, stocks fell for the first time in five days as investors pored over the latest corporate earnings reports and mixed U.S. economic data.

In terms of individual share price action, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum fell 8% to the bottom of the European blue-chip index after its second-quarter results.

German pharmaceutical firm Sartorius saw shares of its subgroup Sartorius Stedim rally 10% after the group raised its full-year profit guidance.