China

European Markets Close Marginally Lower as Investors Track China Property Woes, Earnings

Marco de Swart | AFP | Getty Images
  • The weak trade in Europe comes after markets were jittery Asia-Pacific overnight, as investors monitored shares of developer China Evergrande Group in Hong Kong.
  • It was a busy day for earnings in Europe on Thursday with Hermes, L'Oreal and Pernod-Ricard reporting their latest sales numbers, and earnings also coming Vivendi, Eurotunnel, Daimler, SAP, Randstad, ABB, Barclays, Unilever and Rentokil.

LONDON — European stocks retreated slightly on Thursday as concerns about the Chinese property sector returned to the fore, while investors also monitored a slew of corporate earnings.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed just below the flatline, with miners shedding 3% to lead losses on the back of the Chinese property worries.

The weak trade in Europe comes after markets were jittery in Asia-Pacific overnight, as investors monitored shares of developer China Evergrande Group in Hong Kong.

Evergrande shares dropped more than 12% on Thursday, returning to trade after a halt that lasted more than two weeks. The debt-laden firm announced in an exchange filing late Wednesday that a deal to sell a 50.1% stake in its property services business to another developer Hopson had fallen through.

On Wall Street Thursday, stocks declined after the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average retook its record high in the prior session amid solid corporate earnings. Markets have had to confront several challenges in recent months, ranging from concerns over the delta Covid surge and supply chain disruptions to the Federal Reserve signaling the removal of stimulus and surging inflation reports.

It was a busy day for earnings in Europe on Thursday with Hermes, L'Oreal and Pernod-Ricard reporting their latest sales numbers. Vivendi, Eurotunnel, Daimler, SAP, Randstad, ABB, Unilever and Rentokil also reported before the bell.

Barclays reported better-than-expected third-quarter profits on Thursday, following its Wall Street rivals in receiving a significant boost from its investment banking division. Shares slipped 0.6% by the close.

French semiconductor materials company Soitec was the biggest climber on the Stoxx 600, adding 8% after raising its full-year outlook on the back of increased activity levels and a robust operating performance.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, French electrical wholesaler Rexel dropped 9% after missing third-quarter sales expectations.

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

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