Elliot Smith, Holly Ellyatt
LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Thursday as investors closely monitored vote-counting in key battleground U.S. states that will decide the election.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended up around 1%, with media stocks adding 2.7% to lead gains while oil and gas stocks bucked the trend, down 0.2%.
The U.S. election remains the key focus for international investors on Thursday. U.S. stocks jumped on Thursday as investors hoped that the winner of the U.S. presidential election would soon be determined.
Late Wednesday, NBC News projected that former Vice President Joe Biden was the winner in Wisconsin and Michigan, both states that President Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election. Biden would then be just 17 Electoral College votes away from winning, NBC News reported Wednesday.
Trump’s campaign and the Georgia Republican Party filed a lawsuit Wednesday over the counting of absentee ballots in a Georgia county. That came after the campaign said it had filed suits to halt counting in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well.
Back in Europe, the U.K.’s central bank on Thursday held interest rates steady as England enters a fresh period of national lockdown measures expected to hit the country’s economic recovery.
Along with maintaining its main lending rate at 0.1%, the Bank of England’s (BOE) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) also voted to expand its target stock of asset purchases to £895 billion.
Earnings released early Thursday by French bank Societe Generale showed a net income of 862 million euros ($1.011 billion) for the third quarter, beating analysts who had estimated a net income of 458 million euros for the quarter, according to Refinitiv.
This comes after the French bank reported a net loss of 1.26 billion euros for the second quarter of the year.
In terms of individual share price movement, Luxembourg-based steel pipes manufacturer Tenaris and German mass media company Prosiebensat.1 both jumped more than 9% after strong third-quarter earnings.
Commerzbank shares dipped more than 5% after the German lender swung to a third-quarter net loss amid the pandemic and restructuring efforts, while ING Groep shares fell nearly 6% after its third-quarter earnings.
British software firm Aveva Group also dropped more than 5% after reporting a slide in third-quarter revenue.
- CNBC’s Lauren Feiner and Silvia Amaro contributed reporting to this story.
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