European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX
Investors monitored news of progress in U.S.-Sino trade negotiations. A Reuters report said China has offered “unprecedented” proposals to allay U.S. concerns over forced technology transfers. Officials from both countries are due to meet for a fresh round of discussions Thursday.
But equities were under pressure amid jitters over a slowdown in economic growth. Bond markets have in the past week signaled a U.S. recession may be coming, with the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield recently falling below that of the 3-month bill, in what is known as a yield curve inversion.
Looking at individual stocks, Evotec climbed to the top of the pan-European benchmark after it gave a positive outlook for 2019. The biotechnology firm said it saw adjusted earnings improving by 10 percent this year. Shares rose by around 4 percent.
Bayer stock fell after a U.S. jury said the pharmaceuticals giant should pay a claimant $80 million after allegations its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused his cancer. Shares of the company dropped more than 1 percent.
Swedbank was among the biggest fallers as the embattled lender faces a probe into alleged money laundering. The firm dismissed its CEO Birgitte Bonnesen on Thursday morning. The stock fell around 4 percent to its lowest level since September 2013 but were then halted.
Back in Europe, the fate of Brexit looked as uncertain as ever. British Prime Minister Theresa May offered to resign if her twice-defeated withdrawal deal was finally passed by Parliament, in a move that failed to impress some hardline Brexiteers and Northern Ireland’s DUP party.