Europe close: Stocks end mostly higher as investors assess rate outlook
European shares were mostly higher, apparently taking their cue from a rally on Wall Street the day before after less-hawkish-than anticipated comments from US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell.
However, come Wednesday and Wall Street was on the back foot, even as Federal Reserve vice-chairman, John Williams, appeared to sound only a slightly hawkish note, although he did say that monetary policy would need to be "sufficiently restrictive" for "a few years".
The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index was up 0.28% at 459.46 with most regional bourses higher.
Spain's Ibex 35 added 0.60% to 9,227.30 and Germany's Dax climbed 0.60% to 15,412.05, but the French Cac-40 drifted lower by 0.18% to 7,119.83.
Markets had been jittery of late after a hot US jobs report last week stoked fears of more inflation and an extended run of interest rate rises.
In equity news, Adyen shares plunged after the Dutch payments company reported second-half earnings that missed estimates, weighed down by a hiring push that contrasts with mounting job cuts across the tech industry.
Shares in AP Moller-Maersk slipped as the shipping giant forecast a plunge in profits and warned of a global trade contraction as the boom in container traffic, sparked by the shortages created after the Covid pandemic, looked over.
Packaging group Smurfit Kappa dropped despite lifting its dividend and reporting a rise in annual earnings. Shares in sector peer Mondi also declined.
French bank Societe Generale was down after posting a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, but set aside more money for bad loans.
Jewellery maker Pandora shone as it reported fourth-quarter results at the high-end of guidance.
UK housebuilder Barratt rose despite a 9% cut in its interim dividend and a grim outlook for the sector as mortgage costs rise.