Europe Markets

European markets close mixed as earnings, coronavirus remain in focus; BOE holds rates

Key Points
  • Reporting before the opening bell, Deutsche Bank beat earnings expectations for 2020 as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis, led by a strong performance in its investment banking division.
  • Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell reported a sharp drop in full-year profit with the pandemic hitting demand, and taking a heavy toll on the global oil and gas industry.
  • The Bank of England left monetary policy unchanged following its first meeting of 2021, with its main lending rate held at 0.1% and target stock of asset purchases kept at £895 billion ($1.2 trillion).

In this article

LONDON — European stocks closed mixed on Thursday as investors remained focused on earnings reports and developments on the coronavirus pandemic.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished up 0.5% but with different indexes pointing in different directions. Banks added 2.7% following the Bank of England's comments on negative interest rates, while utilities fell 0.5%.

The lackluster trade for European markets came as investors remained focused on the latest earnings this quarter, with reports Thursday from Deutsche Bank, Unilever, Shell, Royal Mail, Infineon, BT, ABB, Roche, Dassault Systemes and Enel.

Reporting before the opening bell, Deutsche Bank beat earnings expectations for 2020 as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis, led by a strong performance in its investment banking division. Shares of Germany's largest lender closed 0.1% lower.

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell reported a sharp drop in full-year profit with the pandemic hitting demand, and taking a heavy toll on the global oil and gas industry. The company's stock slipped 1.5%.

VIDEO2:2802:28
Investment banking strength boosted earnings, Deutsche Bank CFO says

The Bank of England on Thursday left monetary policy unchanged following its first meeting of 2021, with its main lending rate held at 0.1% and target stock of asset purchases kept at £895 billion ($1.2 trillion).

The Bank's Prudential Regulation Authority also said in a letter to lenders that British banks will need at least six months to prepare for a potential shift to negative interest rates.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, building on a three-day winning streak, as investors assessed a new batch of corporate earnings and economic data.

In terms of individual share price movement, Spanish bank BBVA climbed 7.7%, after agreeing to sell banking service Holvi.

French software firm Dassault Systemes climbed more than 6% after forecasting a rise in 2021 revenues on the back of a strong performance for its clinical trials business.

Bayer shares climbed 5% after the German pharmaceutical giant reached a $2 billion deal to settle future compensation claims in the U.S. over cancers linked to its Roundup weedkiller.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, consumer goods group Unilever fell 6% after full-year results.

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