By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
European stock wobbled into the close on Thursday, as investors digested a raft of earnings reports and better-than-expected growth data from the U.K.
The pan-European benchmark swung between small gains and losses throughout the day and had opened firmly lower after a downbeat session in Asia. China said industrial profits fell to 7.7% year-over-year growth in September, a sharp slowdown from the 19.5% recorded the month before.
Other movers: But during the day, markets in Europe trimmed losses as investors analyzed the deluge of earnings that came out on Thursday.
Deutsche Bank AG /zigman2/quotes/207242873/delayed XE:DBK -0.05% /zigman2/quotes/203042512/composite DB +1.88% shares ended up 0.6%, after the German lender posted an unexpected profit and set aside more money for litigation costs.
Posting on of the biggest losses in the pan-European benchmark, shares of AMEC Foster Wheeler PLC tanked 20% after the oilfield-services company said it continues to see weakness in some key markets.
Nokia Oyj /zigman2/quotes/203672305/delayed FI:NOKIA -1.22% /zigman2/quotes/207421390/composite NOK +0.85% slumped 7.6% after the telecommunications-equipment reported a quarterly loss for the third time in a row.
Engineering giant ABB Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201477239/delayed CH:ABBN -0.23% lost 6.6% after its third-quarter revenue dropped because of uncertainties over the U.S. presidential election and the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union.
Italy shaken by strong quakes
Two powerful aftershocks struck central Italy late Wednesday, damaging buildings and historic monuments just two months after an earthquake left 300 dead in the area. Photo: EPA
On a more upbeat note, STMicroelectronics NV /zigman2/quotes/203551318/delayed IT:STM +1.35% jumped 11% as investors welcomed its outlook for the rest of the year.
Shares of Technip SA climbed 2.2% after the oil-field-services company reported better-than-expected earnings.
Statoil ASA added 2.2%. The Norwegian oil giant said it will cut expenses after posting a third-quarter loss.
Economic news: The U.K. economy proved to be more resilient than expected after the Brexit vote, with gross domestic product expanding 0.5% in the third quarter. Economists had expected GDP growth of around 0.3%, which was already higher than the forecasts published immediately after the EU referendum in June.
The growth rate still marked a slowdown from the 0.7% recorded in the second quarter.
“Growth of 0.5% quarter-on-quarter undeniably means that the economy was solid (if somewhat lopsided) in the immediate aftermath of June’s Brexit vote, despite appreciable serious concern that activity could immediately head south,” said Howard Archer, chief U.K. and European economist at IHS Global Insight, in a note.
“However, there are still major challenges for the economy ahead — not least when Article 50 is triggered,” he added.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0498% rallied after the report, buying as much as $1.2272 compared with $1.2240 ahead of the data and the $1.2246 recorded late Wednesday in New York. Sterling, however, quickly gave up most of the gain to trade at $1.2156 at the time of the European market close.
Germany’s DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +0.33% added 0.1% to 10,717.08, while France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.14% ended marginally lower at 4,533.57.