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European Markets Sink Further Amid Rising Geopolitical Tensions

The European markets ended Thursday's session solidly in negative territory, extending the losses of the previous session. Investors remain in a nervous mood as tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to escalate. Traders continue to exit riskier investments in favor of safe havens.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 1.10 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 1.01 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, lost 1.36 percent.

The DAX of Germany dropped 1.15 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell 0.59 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. declined 1.44 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 0.86 percent.

In Frankfurt, Hannover Re fell 4.86 percent despite the company reporting an increase in first-half profit and affirming its FY outlook.

Lanxess tumbled 3.30 percent. The specialty chemical company's second-quarter profit plunged 96 percent to 3 million euros from last year's 75 million euros, hurt by one-time exceptional charges.

Henkel sank 3.77 percent after it reported weaker than expected second quarter results.

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen soared 8.85 percent after its first-quarter loss narrowed to 16 million euros from last year's 37 million euros, due to lower financing costs.

ThyssenKrupp rose 0.86 percent. The steel giant backed its FY outlook after posting better-than-expected third-quarter results.

In Paris, wireless operator SFR soared 9.22 percent after Altice raised its stake in the company.

In London, mining giant Glencore declined 2.46 percent after its first-half earnings trailed estimates.

Beverage bottler Coca-Cola HBC surged 9.23 percent after posting solid first-half earnings.

Homebuilders dropped after a survey showed U.K. house prices in July rose at the slowest rate since early 2013 due to political uncertainty and the impact of tax changes. Barratt Developments fell 2.88 percent, Taylor Wimpey lost 2.98 percent and Persimmon shed 2.92 percent.

Staffing firm Adecco Group sank 6.41 percent in Zurich as it posted muted growth in second-quarter net income.

Insurer Aegon jumped 5.30 percent in Amsterdam after it agreed to sell its Irish business to Athene Holding for about €180m.

Altice climbed 0.92 percent. Reuters reported that the telecom conglomerate and its U.S. cable unit are in the early stages of working on an offer to buy Charter Communications Inc.

Biotech firm Galapagos surged 8.30 percent after announcing positive topline results with its autotaxin inhibitor GLPG1690 in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in a mid-stage study.

France's industrial production declined at the fastest pace in four months in June, the statistical office Insee reported Thursday.

Industrial output fell by more-than-expected 1.1 percent month-on-month in June, reversing a 1.9 percent rise in May. This was the biggest contraction since February, when it was down by 1.7 percent. Output was forecast to drop 0.6 percent.

UK industrial production grew more than expected in June largely due to higher oil and gas output, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed Thursday. Industrial output expanded 0.5 percent on a monthly basis, after staying flat in May. Output was forecast to grow 0.1 percent.

The UK visible trade deficit widened to a 9-month high in June, the Office for National Statistics reported Thursday. Trade in goods resulted in a shortfall of GBP 12.72 billion in June compared to GBP 11.31 billion deficit in May.

This was the largest shortfall since September 2016. Economists had forecast the deficit to narrow to GBP 11 billion.

The house price balance in the United Kingdom came in with a score of +1 in July, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said on Thursday. That was well shy of forecasts for a score of +9, and down sharply from +7 in June.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged higher in the week ended August 5th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims crept up to 244,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level of 241,000.

The uptick came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to come in unchanged compared to the 240,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Reflecting a drop in prices for services, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected decrease in U.S. producer prices in the month of July. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged down by 0.1 percent in July after inching up by 0.1 percent in June. Economists had expected another 0.1 percent uptick.

by RTT Staff Writer

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