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European Markets Mostly Lower Amid Earnings, Data

European Markets Mostly Lower Amid Earnings, Data

European markets mostly finished lower on Thursday as investors reacted to the release of corporate earnings and economic data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.34 percent, though the U.K. FTSE and some sectors trimmed losses from earlier on in the afternoon's trading.

While the STOXX was mostly flat for most of the morning session, the index declined following the release of minutes from the European Central Bank's December meeting which showed that the ECB should revisit its policy message early this year.

The euro's rise following the ECB release also put pressure on eurozone indexes with Germany's DAX dropping 0.6 percent, while bond yields also increased. Britain's FTSE 100 hit a fresh record and climbed 0.2 percent.

Telecoms and retail were the two worst performing sectors, dropping 1.49 and 1.37 percent respectively on corporate earnings.

The retail sector declined 1.3 percent, while bank stocks, which had advanced on Wednesday as bond yields climbed, extended gains to close 0.4 percent higher.

U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer fell more than seven percent, weighed down 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 largest retailer Tesco was also one of Europe's biggest decliners, down more than 4.5 percent after the company fell short of Christmas trading forecasts. Tesco said strong sales of fresh food were counterbalanced by lower demand for general goods.

Basic resources was the best performing sector, rising 0.61 percent, followed by oil and gas and banks.

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