The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.34 percent lower, though the U.K. FTSE and some sectors pared losses from earlier on in the afternoon’s trading.
Telecoms and retail were the two worst performing sectors, closing down 1.49 and 1.37 percent respectively on corporate earnings.
U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer dropped in afternoon trade to finish Thursday over 7 percent lower, impacted by its fourth quarter earnings report. Chief Executive Steve Rowe described 2017’s October to December business as “mixed”, with “a weak clothing market in October and ongoing under-performance in our food like-for-like sales.”
Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco was also one of Europe’s biggest fallers, down over 4.5 percent after the firm missed Christmas trading forecasts. Tesco said robust sales of fresh food were offset by lower demand for general goods.
Basic resources was the best performing sector Thursday, up 0.61 percent, followed by oil and gas and banks.
Looking at individual stocks, Hexagon shares surged to the top of the Stoxx 600, closing up 5.75 percent. A Norwegian court cleared the group’s CEO of insider trading late Wednesday.
Hays also did well, closing up over 4.2 percent. The British recruiter published higher second-quarter net fees, boosted by strong international business.
Meanwhile, shares of Pandora foundered near the bottom of the Stoxx 600, lower by nearly 11 percent after the Danish jewelry maker said it anticipated profit margins to decline over the next few years. The group’s CEO Anders Colding Friis said a challenging U.S. retail environment and unfavorable currency developments had hampered revenues in 2017, Reuters reported.