(RTTNews.com) - The European markets finished Thursday's session with mixed results, as investors digested a number of weaker than expected earnings reports. Investors also had their first opportunity to react to the announcement made by the Federal Reserve late yesterday, upon the conclusion of its 2-day policy meeting.
As expected, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday voted to maintain their $85 billion per month asset purchase program. Policy makers remain nervous about the health of the economy, fearing the recent government shutdown has hurt an already tepid recovery. The Fed noted that unemployment rate remains elevated and the recovery in the housing sector has slowed somewhat in recent months.
On a positive note, the Fed judged that downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished, on net, since a year ago.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased by 0.80 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.57 percent.
The DAX of Germany climbed by 0.26 percent and the CAC 40 of France advanced by 0.60 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. dropped by 0.68 percent, but the SMI of Switzerland gained 0.07 percent.
In Frankfurt, Bayer decreased by 1.06 percent. The company reported a surge in third-quarter profit, but warned its sales would be at the lower end of its given estimate range for fiscal 2013.
Lufthansa fell by 2.86 percent, after the aviation group reported a lower third-quarter profit, reflecting a decline in revenues.
In Paris, Total SA rose by 0.08 percent. The oil giant reported a lower profit for the third quarter
BNP Paribas shares climbed by 3.35 percent. The lender reported a higher third-quarter profit, reflecting mainly lower income tax expenses.
L'Oreal declined by 0.98 percent, after the cosmetics maker reported a slight drop in revenues for the third quarter, but maintained its target of achieving growth in sales and profitability for the full year 2013.
Alcatel Lucent surged by 19.36 percent, after its third quarter loss narrowed.
Technip fell by 10.27 percent, after it revised its full year revenue forecast.
In London, Royal Dutch Shell tumbled by 4.64 percent. The oil giant reported a lower profit for the third quarter amid decreased refining margins and lower production.
However, BG Group climbed by 2.04 percent and BT Group gained 2.06 percent, after their respective quarterly reports.
AstraZeneca declined by 0.11 percent, after its third quarter revenues fell.
Novo Nordisk sank by 7.40 percent in Copenhagen, after its third quarter profit missed expectations.
Eurozone inflation slowed unexpectedly in October largely due to a notable fall in energy prices, official data showed Thursday. Inflation fell to 0.7 percent in October from 1.1 percent in September, flash estimate published by Eurostat revealed Thursday. The rate was expected to stay unchanged at 1.1 percent in October.
Unemployment rate in Eurozone was unchanged at a record-high of 12.2 percent in September, the latest data from Eurostat revealed Thursday. The number of unemployed persons in euro area was 19.447 million in September, which was up by 60,000 from August. Compared with September 2012, unemployment rose by 996,000. Unemployment rate in EU28 was 11 percent, also stable compared with August.
Germany's consumer confidence is seen diminishing slightly heading into November, a survey by market research group GfK revealed Thursday. Meanwhile, the country's retail sales fell for a second straight month in September, according to data released by the Federal Statistical Office.
The GfK's forward-looking consumer confidence index for November edged down to 7 from 7.1 in October. Economists had expected an increase in the index to 7.2. However, the overall sentiment remained upbeat.
Germany's retail sales unexpectedly declined for a second straight month in September, data released by Destatis showed on Thursday. Retail sales dropped a calendar-and-seasonally-adjusted 0.4 percent month-on-month, while economists' consensus was a 0.4 percent gain. In August, sales fell 0.2 percent.
Germany's import prices decreased for the ninth successive month in September, and the rate of fall matched economists' forecast, latest data showed Thursday.
The import price index decreased 2.8 percent in September from the same month of last year, marking the ninth fall in a row, the Federal Statistical Office said. The outcome matched economists' forecast. In August, prices had declined 3.4 percent.
The statistical office further noted that Germany's export prices decreased 1 percent year-on-year in September, as they did in August. On a month-on-month basis, export prices stayed flat for the second straight month in September.
France's consumer spending declined unexpectedly in September, down for a second consecutive month, data released by the statistical office INSEE showed on Thursday. Household spending fell 0.1 percent from August, when they decreased 0.3 percent, which was revised from an initially reported 0.4 percent decline. Economists had expected consumer spending to rise 0.3 percent in September.
Industrial producer prices in France decreased in September from last year, data released by statistical office Insee showed Thursday. The producer price index for the domestic market declined 0.8 percent year-on-year in September, contrary to economists' expectations that prices would remain unchanged.
Italy's unemployment rate increased more-than-expected in September and reached a record high as economic activity continued to be dragged down by the ongoing recession, and placements stalled amid fears that a recovery is unlikely in the near future.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate advanced to 12.5 percent in September from 12.4 percent in August and 12.1 percent in July, data released by statistical office Istat showed on Thursday. The September figure was the highest ever registered since records started in 1977. Economists had forecast a decline to 12.3 percent.
Confidence among British consumers slipped for the first time in six months in October amid increased concerns about their personal finances and the prospects of the general economy, the results of a survey released by market research group GfK NOP showed Thursday. The GfK's consumer confidence index slipped to -11 in October from September's six-year high of -10. Economists expected the reading to improve to -8.
U.K. house prices increased at a faster pace in October, maintaining the momentum that has been building in the second half of 2013, the Nationwide Building Society reported Thursday. House prices advanced 1 percent month-on-month in October, following a 0.9 percent rise a month ago, while the growth rate was forecast to ease to 0.7 percent.
While the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell for the third consecutive week, claims still came in slightly above economist estimates.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 340,000 in the week ended October 26th, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 350,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to fall to 335,000.
Chicago-area business activity unexpectedly grew at a substantially accelerated rate in the month of October, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Thursday.
MNI Indicators said the Chicago Business Barometer jumped to 65.9 in October from 55.7 in September, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in Chicago-area business activity. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 55.0.
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