Europe Markets

European markets close flat with Wall Street closed; AstraZeneca shares edge lower

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Key Points
  • The Europe Stoxx 600 index ended 0.03% lower provisionally.
  • U.S. financial markets were closed Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday so trading volumes were likely to be low.

European stocks closed little changed on Thursday as investors paused for breath after a global rally in recent sessions.

The Europe Stoxx 600 index ended 0.03% lower provisionally. U.S. financial markets were closed Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday so trading volumes were low.

Looking at individual stocks, shares of insurer Aviva fell 0.2% lower after the British insurer said that it expects to pay a total dividend for 2020 of 21 pence (28 cents) and is exploring options for divesting its remaining businesses in Asia and continental Europe in order to focus on Britain, Ireland and Canada.

Shares of soft drinks maker Britvic rose 1.3% despite the coronavirus pandemic hitting demand. It reported that adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to £165.8 million ($221.91 million) for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, from £214.1 million a year earlier, according to Reuters.

Shares of AstraZeneca slipped 0.6% as questions are raised over the way Astrazeneca and Oxford University tested their coronavirus vaccine, with the head of the White House's vaccine task force voicing doubts about trial data and the drug's efficacy rate.

Meanwhile, Remy Cointreau's shares sank 1.8% lower after the French drinks maker reported a 23% fall in first-half operating profit. It forecast real recovery in the second half, driven by a rebound in demand from the U.S. and China.

More broadly, global stocks have pulled back from their rally earlier this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell on Wednesday, taking a breath after breaking above 30,000 points Tuesday, while traders pored over disappointing unemployment data.

The U.S. Labor Department said that 778,000 people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial jobless claims to come in at 733,000.

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-CNBC's Fred Imbert and Eustance Huang contributed to this market report.