European markets closed mainly lower following BOE rate decision


European stock markets endured mixed fortunes Thursday, as investors reacted to a monetary policy meeting by the U.K.’s central bank.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended provisionally 0.12 percent lower than its previous closing price, with major bourses and sectors pointing in opposite directions.

Europe’s telecoms stocks were among those to lead the losses, down 0.94 percent amid earnings news. BT posted weaker-than-anticipated figures over the first three months of the year and announced plans to cut 13,000 managerial and back-office jobs. Britain’s largest telecoms group also said it would leave its London headquarters in its latest attempt to regroup after an accounting scandal. Shares of the company were 7.5 percent lower for the day.

Meanwhile, media stocks rose 0.3 percent on average after Britain’s free-to-air commercial broadcaster, ITV, projected net advertising revenue would jump approximately 15 percent in June as viewers tune in for the soccer World Cup. The London-listed stock also reported earnings largely in line with expectations on Thursday. Shares of ITV were up 5.8 percent.

In banking, RBS rallied nearly 4 percent after it agreed to pay a smaller-than-anticipated $4.9 billion to resolve a long-running investigation into its sale of mortgage-backed securities.

Elsewhere, Randgold Resources shares slumped after the gold producer reported a 24 percent quarter-on-quarter fall in profit. The company cited rising costs and disappointing production levels over the first three months of the year. Its shares were off 6.8 percent on the news.

The yield on Italian government 10-year bonds rose to a seven-week high Thursday, while stocks sold off, following news that former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will not stand in the way of a new coalition government.

The anti-establishment Five Star (M5S) and right-wing Lega parties are said to be closing in on an agreement to form a ruling coalition for the euro zone’s third-largest economy.

Benchmark 10-year Italian yields jumped to 1.94 percent in early trading and the spread between Italian debt and its German counterpart stretched to its widest in six weeks. The FTSE MIB equity index in Milan closed around 1 percent lower.

Politics has been a major focus over the course of this week, from an election result in Asia and the easing of geopolitical tensions to the news that President Donald Trump would be pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear accord.

After the news broke about Iran on Tuesday, oil prices have been on the rise but gains were checked on Thursday, with Brent hovering around $77.01 per barrel and U.S. crude fluctuating around $71.04. Following the U.S. announcement, allies in Europe have been trying to salvage the Iran deal, and preserve their trade relations with the Middle Eastern nation.

Back in Europe, the Bank of England (BOE)held interest rates steady, after a first-quarter slowdown in economic growth tarnished the case for higher borrowing costs. The decision marked a sharp contrast to widespread expectations just a few weeks ago, as Threadneedle Street voted 7-2 to keep rates on hold at 0.5 percent.

—CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche contributed to this report


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