Stock markets in Europe were lower Thursday morning, with investors pausing for breath after fresh record closes on Wall Street in the previous session.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.32 percent lower with basic resources and insurance stocks the worst performers in early deals. The insurance group NN was at the bottom of the European benchmark after disappointing full-year results.
Cobham, the British manufacturing company, was the worst-performing stock in the morning session, down by 21 percent after downgrading its profit guidance. Ex-dividend stocks were also dragging down bourses like the FTSE 100 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Nestle was down by more than 1 percent after lower-than-expected results. Air France-KLM jumped 8.5 percent in early trade after reporting strong earnings. Several airlines moved higher on Thursday, with Intl Consol Air and Lufthansa at the top of the European benchmark. Elsewhere, the Austrian oil and gas company OMV climbed near the top of the Stoxx 600 after hiking its dividend for this year.
In other corporate news, German authorities said they weren’t satisfied that they were not informed that General Motors planned to sell its ailing European arm to Peugeot according to the Financial Times. Concerns have been raised that it could result in a mass layoff in German factories, a few months away from a federal election.
Meanwhile, NATO defense ministers continued with a second-day summit in Brussels on Thursday and foreign ministers of the G-20 are gathering in Bonn, Germany. In terms of data, the European Central Bank is set to release the minutes of its January meeting.
Car registrations in Europe rose 10.2 percent year-over-year in January, accelerating from a 3.0 percent rise in December. In France, data showed the unemployment rate dropping to 10 percent at the end of last year.
U.S. stocks closed at fresh highs Wednesday for a fifth-straight day as traders continued to bet on a pro-growth agenda under President Donald Trump.