(RTTNews) - European markets ended higher on Thursday, extending recent gains, driven by corporate earnings and continued optimism about U.S. and China signing the first phase of a trade deal in November.
The markets also took note of the European Central Bank's decision to leave rates unchanged.
Investors largely shrugged off the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and data from IHS Markit that showed Euro area private sector remained close to stagnation in October amid shrinking manufacturing activity and subdued expansion in services sector.
The pan European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.59%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.93%, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 ended higher by 0.58% and 0.55%, respectively. Switzerland's SMI closed 0.83% up.
Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Netherland, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and Turkey closed on a firm note with sharp to moderate gains.
Finland and Iceland declined, while Greece, Ireland, Poland and Spain ended flat.
AstraZeneca, up more than 5.5% on strong sales in the third quarter, was the top gainer in the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index. Scottish Mortgage ended nearly 5% up and Relx gained about 4%. BAE Systems gained 3.3%.
Hargreaves Lansdown, Ocado, 3i Group, Fresnillo, Halma, GlaxoSmithKline, Micro Focus, Tui, Burberry Group and Experian ended stronger by 2 to 3%.
On the other hand, NMC Health, Marks & Spencer, Rolls-Royce Holdings, ITV, EasyJet, Whitbread and Kingfischer ended sharply lower.
RBS ended lower by about 3.3% after the lender reported an attributable net loss of 315 million pound for the third quarter on the back of a 900 million pound charge to settle claims relating to the payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal.
In France, Atos surged up nearly 10% after the company announced that its Chief Executive Officer Thierry Breton would step down to become France's candidate for the next EU Commissioner. He will be replaced by the company's Chief Financial Officer Elie Girard.
STMicroElectronics gained 8.6% after the company reported higher than expected revenue for the third quarter. Technip shares plunged nearly 11% on disappointing third-quarter results.
In the German market, Infineon surged up 4.2%. BASF gained 3.4%. Daimler ended stronger by about 3.25%, lifted by strong third-quarter profits thanks to a notable increase in sales of luxury cars and higher profits in its van business.
Merck and Volkswagen both ended nearly 2% up, while Bayer gained about 1.1%.
The European Central Bank today left its key interest rates, forward guidance, and stimulus measures unchanged as expected in the final policy session chaired by President Mario Draghi.
The main refinancing rate was retained at its record low 0% and the deposit rate at -0.5% after the latest Governing Council meeting. The latter was slashed by 10 basis points in September.
The marginal lending facility rate was kept unchanged at 0.25%.
The bank also retained its forward guidance on both interest rates and asset purchases.
Turkey's central bank resorted to another sharp cut in interest rate on Thursday, saying inflation outlook continued to improve. The Monetary Policy Committee, led by TCMB Governor Murat Uysal decided to reduce the policy rate, which is the one-week repo auction rate, to 14% from 16.5%.
Survey data from IHS Markit showed the euro area private sector remained close to stagnation in October as manufacturing continued to shrink amid subdued expansion in services activity.
The flash composite output index rose slightly to 50.2 in October from 50.1 in September. The score was forecast to improve to 50.3.
A further steep decline in manufacturing output was accompanied by one of the weakest service sector expansions since 2014, the survey showed.
The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index remained unchanged at 45.7 in October, while it was forecast to climb to 46.0. The services PMI rose to 51.8 from 51.6 a month ago. The expected reading was 51.9.
Meanwhile, France's private sector expanded at a faster pace at the start of the fourth quarter, survey data from IHS Markit showed.
The composite output index rose more-than-expected to 52.6 in October from 50.8 in September. The expected reading was 51.0. The services Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 52.9 versus 51.1 in September, while the factory PMI rose to 50.5 in October from 50.1 in September.
In the United Kingdom, mortgage approvals declined to a six-month low of 42,310 in September from 42,527 in August, data from UK Finance showed Thursday.
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