Europe Markets

European markets close lower as investors monitor key earnings and U.S. jobs data

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Key Points
  • Airbus, Credit Suisse, Barclays and Daimler all reported earnings on Thursday.
  • Barclays reported a full-year profit of £1.53 billion ($2.11 billion) for 2020, down 38% from 2019 but outstripping analyst expectations.
  • Credit Suisse reported a net loss of 353 million Swiss francs ($392.8 million) for the fourth quarter of 2020 on the back of higher provisions.
  • Initial jobless claims in the U.S. totaled 861,000 last week, according to Labor Department statistics Thursday, the highest level in a month and significantly above the Dow Jones estimate of 773,000.

European stocks closed lower on Thursday as investors digested earnings from big names in the region, including Airbus, Barclays and Daimler, along with key U.S. jobs data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed down by 0.8%, with oil and gas shares sliding 2.2% to lead the losses as most sectors and major bourses dipped into negative territory.

Before the bell on Thursday, Credit Suisse reported a net loss of 353 million Swiss francs ($392.8 million) for the fourth quarter of 2020 on the back of higher provisions. Credit Suisse shares slipped 3.2%.

Barclays reported a full-year profit of £1.53 billion ($2.11 billion) for 2020, down 38% from 2019 but outstripping analyst expectations, on the back of a 22% rise in investment banking income. The British lender's stock slid 4.4% by the close.

Airbus restored its business targets after generating cash in the final quarter of 2020, but posted a full-year operating loss of 510 million euros ($614.5 million), with core operating profit falling 75% as a result of the pandemic. The planemaker's stock fell 2.8%.

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Investors were also reacting to earnings from Air France KLM, Orange, Carrefour, Bouygues, Valeo and EDF, Moncler and Nestle.

Focus was also attuned to key data coming out of the U.S. Thursday for the latest indications on the health of the country's economy. Initial jobless claims totaled 861,000 last week, according to Labor Department statistics published Thursday, the highest level in a month and significantly above the Dow Jones estimate of 773,000.

On Wall Street, stocks slid as investors were discouraged by the weaker-than-expected print on jobless claims as well as a gloomy forecast from Walmart.

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In terms of individual share price action, Swiss banking software firm Temenos surged 19.3% after announcing optimistic targets for 2025. Acciona shares climbed 11.4% after the Spanish energy and engineering company said it was considering spinning off its renewable unit.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, German car battery manufacturer Varta fell 13.2% after its earnings report.

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