European stocks finished Thursday's session in negative territory as investors digested the latest U.S. jobless claims data and tracked the lack of progress in negotiations over a U.S. pandemic relief package.
The Europe Stoxx 600 closed 0.63% lower, with banks shedding 1.91% to lead losses while retail bucked the trend to add 0.24%.
U.S. jobless claims for the week ending August 7 totaled 963,000, Labor Department figures revealed Thursday, well below the estimate of 1.1 million from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and the first time unemployment filings have fallen below 1 million since March.
Thyssenkrupp was the worst performers on the European blue chip index, closing 16.3% lower after the German steel company posted a 679 million euro ($800 million) quarterly loss. The company said it's seeing signs of stabilization, however, following the easing of lockdown restrictions and the sale last month of its elevator unit.
Aegon shares fell 15.32% after the Dutch insurer reported a 67% fall in first-half net profit.
Shares of Carlsberg were down 5.79% after the Danish brewer said it expected profit to fall 10%-15% in 2020 due to lockdowns in Europe and China impacting sales, Reuters reported.
At the top of the European blue chip index, Simcorp added 5.75%.
Sentiment remained dampened by a lack of progress on a new coronavirus aid bill in Washington. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Democrats and the Trump administration are "miles apart" on negotiations for the next pandemic relief package, in what is now a common refrain for progress on a possible deal.
Insolvent payments company Wirecard will finally be ejected from Germany's benchmark DAX index on August 21, after exchange operator Deutsche Boerse announced a change in its selection rules on Thursday.