Europe Markets

European stocks close lower after ECB decision; Games Workshop up 12%

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed down by over 0.5%, with mining stocks falling 1.5% to lead losses.
  • The ECB said it now expects euro zone GDP to contract 8% this year, a modest improvement on the 8.7% contraction it had projected in June.
  • Economic data on Thursday showed weekly U.S. jobless claims were worse-than-expected last week.

European stocks closed lower Thursday after the European Central Bank held interest rates steady and said it expected the euro zone to suffer a smaller recession than it had feared.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed down by over 0.5%, with mining stocks falling 1.5% to lead losses. Autos and travel and leisure shares bucked the trend, up around 0.6% and 0.7% respectively.

It comes after the ECB announced it was keeping its interest rates and coronavirus-stimulus program unchanged. The central bank also said its baseline scenario for the euro zone was for GDP to contract 8% this year, a modest improvement on the 8.7% contraction it had projected in June.

However, the recovery is likely to be slower than initially forecast and inflation is still anticipated to undershoot the bank's target for years to come. 

Since the ECB's last meeting, economic data has shown signs of a slowing of the recovery, the euro has appreciated and core inflation slumped to a new record low in August.

Stateside, stocks rose slightly in choppy trading as tech shares tried to build on the sharp rebound from the previous session. Economic data on Thursday showed weekly U.S. jobless claims were worse-than-expected last week.

The Labor Department reported 884,000 first-time filings for unemployment insurance, compared with 850,000 expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Insurance marketplace Lloyd's of London on Thursday posted a first-half pre-tax loss of £400 million ($520.08 million) on the back of £2.4 billion in Covid-19 payouts so far this year.

Games Workshop shares rallied nearly 12% after an upbeat three-month trading update, while at the other end of the European blue-chip index, supermarket chain WM Morrison slid almost 5% after reporting a 25.3% fall in first-half profit.