Europe stocks close mixed as global markets look for direction; euro zone enters recession

This is CNBC's live blog covering European markets.

European stocks continued to tread water Thursday, reflecting uncertain global sentiment.

European markets

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index provisionally closed flat, with sectors spread across positive and negative territory. Telecoms stocks led losses with a 1.1% downturn, while gains were led by a 1.2% uptick in auto stocks.

Equity markets largely shook off figures published mid-morning showing the euro zone entered a technical recession in the first three months of the year, with revisions to gross domestic product showing a 0.1% contraction in the previous two quarters.

Asia-Pacific markets slid as Wall Street saw a pause in its market rally, with U.S. stocks were modestly higher.

Markets seem to be in a holding pattern while awaiting the Federal Reserve's policy meeting on June 13 and 14. Economic signs suggest that inflation is inching downward, even though it remains above the central bank's 2% target.

Markets are pricing about a 66% chance that the Fed keeps rates steady at the next meeting, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Generative A.I. will have a ‘fundamental impact’ on private equity, says Bain & Co

Generative A.I. will have a 'fundamental impact' on private equity, says Bain & Co
Generative A.I. will have a 'fundamental impact' on private equity: Bain & Co

Christophe De Vusser, head of Bain & Company's EMEA private equity practice, says it's part of the next wave of digitalization that will affect a significant number of industries.

UK wage growth accelerates, jobs site Indeed says

U.K. annual wage growth reached 7.2% in May, as measured by advertised salaries on jobs website Indeed, the highest rate since it began measuring the figure in 2019.

That compared with 4.7% across the six euro area countries covered by Indeed, and 5.3% in the U.S.

U.K. wage growth was strongest in nursing and lower-paid roles including retail, customer service, cleaning, and food preparation and service.

"Despite a broadly uncertain economic growth outlook for the EU and UK, along with strong headwinds as a result of higher interest rates and tighter monetary policy from policymakers engaged in the inflation fight, unemployment rates remain at or near historic lows," Indeed said in a statement.

Last month, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said high inflation in the U.K. was being prolonged by "second-round effects," with businesses raising prices and workers obtaining higher salaries.

— Jenni Reid

Stocks open flat Thursday

U.S. stocks opened little-changed Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched down 18 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 traded just above the flatline, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%.

— Hakyung Kim

The UK needs a pragmatic relationship with China despite the U.S.′ hawkish stance, professor says

Tony Travers, visiting professor at the London School of Economics, says he expects the alignment between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Biden administration will be "a very close one" when it comes to the Ukraine war.

The UK needs a pragmatic relationship with China despite the U.S.' hawkish stance, professor says
The UK needs a pragmatic relationship with China, professor says

Euro zone slips into technical recession

The latest GDP figures for the euro zone reveal that the region was in a technical recession during the first quarter of the year.

GDP for the 20-country bloc fell by 0.1% in the first quarter, compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.

The downward revision was mostly due to Germany altering its numbers as new data came in.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Stock markets are a little too optimistic we’re in a new industrial revolution: Vanguard

Giulio Ricci, head of asset allocation for Europe at Vanguard, explains why stocks are rallying although markets have "adjusted to the idea that rates will not be cut in 2023."

Stock markets are a little too optimistic we're in a new industrial revolution: Vanguard
Stock markets too optimistic we're in a new industrial revolution: Vanguard

Euro zone unemployment decreased slightly in April; youth unemployment hits record low

The OECD unemployment rate across the euro zone decreased slightly in April, to 6.5%, while the rate across all OECD countries stayed at 4.8% for the third consecutive month.

Euro zone unemployment was stable or fell in all countries apart from Austria, Estonia, Finland and Greece.

Youth unemployment hit a record low of 10.2% when taking an average from the OECD's 38 member countries.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Wizz Air forecasts a return to profit; shares up 2%

Low-cost airline Wizz Air forecast a return to profitability in the current financial year, with an estimated profit of between 350 million and 450 million euros ($375 million to $482 million).

The carrier predicted record traveler numbers for the summer, with "very strong" demand across its network.

Stock Chart IconStock chart icon
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Wizz Air share price.

Wizz Air reported a pre-tax loss of 564.6 million euros for fiscal 2023, which is narrower than the loss of 641.5 million euros in 2022.

Profitability is returning, says Wizz Air CEO
Profitability is returning, says Wizz Air CEO

Shares of the Hungarian airline were up 2% in morning trade.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

CNBC Pro: Buy this cheap insurance giant with 9.2% yield, Bank of America says

Bank of America has named a European insurance giant as one of its top picks in the insurance sector, given its attractively low valuation.

In addition to the generous dividend yield, the investment bank expects shares to rise by 30% over the next 12 months.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

U.S. regional banking headwinds won't spill over to the Euro zone, JPMorgan says

Stress from the regional banking crisis in the U.S. this year isn't likely to afflict the Euro zone, according to JPMorgan.

Economist Ravi Balakrishnan wrote in a Wednesday note that European banks haven't yet felt any material headwinds from the liquidity crisis in regional banks even though they have both lower deposit insurance levels.

Balakrishnan also noted that Euro zone banks have "stickier deposits" as well as smaller downside risk for "unrecognized market-to-market losses."

"...while Euro area banks are less profitable than their US counterparts, they score better on several measures of solvency, liquidity and funding stability," Balakrishnan said.

— Brian Evans

An effective use of recent rallies? Take some profits and look for yield, says BofA's Jared Woodard

This year's hot runup for tech names presents a plum opportunity for investors to cash in some chips and invest those proceeds elsewhere, said Jared Woodard, investment and ETF strategist at Bank of America.

"Investors should use rallies in tech and other kinds of megacap growth assets to take profits and to invest in other parts of the market where there's better valuation opportunities," he said on "Closing Bell: Overtime" Wednesday evening.

"I think that the top priority for investors this year has to be to capture yield where they can, to protect against deflation and the recession we think is coming and to keep hedges in place if the stagflationary risks from 2022 prove to be a continuing threat," he added.

For yield-seeking investors, he highlighted the iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF (PFF). "If you're looking for income, I think these beaten-down preferreds are a top place to look," Woodard said.

-Darla Mercado

CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs is bullish on these 5 stocks in a corner of A.I. — giving one 140% upside

Goldman Sachs is bullish about generative artificial intelligence: It expects it will drive upside in the broader S&P 500 — and one specific corner of tech.

It gives the fair value upside for the S&P 500, and lists stocks to buy.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are expected to open lower Wednesday.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 13 points lower at 7,461, Germany's DAX down 46 points at 15,041, France's CAC down 18 points at 6,978 and Italy's FTSE MIB down 77 points at 27,417, according to data from IG. 

Data releases Wednesday include euro zone retail sales and producer prices for August and final purchasing managers' index figures for September. On the earnings front, retailer Tesco releases interim results.

— Holly Ellyatt