European Stocks Close Mixed As Investors Digest ECB Policy, U.S. Inflation Data

European stocks closed on a mixed note on Thursday after a somewhat volatile session as investors reacted to the European Central Bank's monetary policy statement and the data on U.S. consumer price inflation.

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank, led by ECB President Christine Lagarde, today left key interest rates unchanged and maintained the size of the pandemic emergency purchase programme, or PEPP, at EUR 1,850 billion.

The ECB has raised Eurozone growth forecasts for this year and next and said the risks to the outlook were balanced. Policymakers also raised the inflation forecast for the two years, but expect underlying inflationary pressures to remain subdued.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.1%. Germany's DAX edged down 0.06% and France's CAC 40 ended lower by 0.26%, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 and Switzerland's SMI gained 0.1% and 0.19%, respectively.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Czech Republic, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden ended weak.

Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Netherlands, Poland and Turkey closed higher.

In the UK market, BT Group shares climbed more than 6.5% after U.S. firm Altice Group said it had taken a 12.1% stake worth about 2.2 billion pounds in the U.K.'s largest broadband and mobile operator.

Auto Trader Group shares gained more than 6.5% after the company gave an upbeat outlook after a tough year. Smith & Nephew gained nearly 2.5%, while AstraZeneca, RightMove, Prudential, Avast, Vodafone Group, GlaxoSmithKline, Scottish Mortgage, Smurfit Kappa Group and Royal Dutch Shell moved up 1 to 2%.

Thungela Sources and Compass Group lost more than 3% Sainsbury (J), IHG, Taylor Wimpey, WPP, British Land Company, Antofagasta and IAG shed 2 to 3%.

In France, Soceite Generale and Credit Agricole both gained nearly 3%. Sanofi, STMicroElectronics and ArcelorMittal also closed with strong gains.

Unibail Rodamco, Bouygues, Accor, Air France-KLM, Technip, Orange, Vinci and Sodexo ended notably lower.

In the German market, Infineon Technologies, Deutsche Telekom and Thyssenkrupp gained 1.4 to 2%, while Volkswagen, BMW, Lufthansa, RWE and Henkel lost 1 to 2%.

In other economic news from Europe, survey results from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed U.K. house prices rose to 83% in May from 76% in April, rising for a fourth consecutive month.

France industrial output logged an unexpected fall in April, reports said citing data from the statistical office Insee. Industrial output dropped 0.1% in April from March, confounding expectations for an increase of 0.5%. At the same time, manufacturing output was down 0.3% month-on-month in April.

In the U.S., the Labor Department data showed a bigger than expected increase in consumer prices in the month of May. The data said the U.S. consumer price index rose by 0.6% in May after climbing by 0.8% in April. Economists had expected consumer prices to increase by 0.4%.

The report also showed consumer prices in May were up by 5% compared to the same month a year ago, reflecting the biggest spike since August of 2008. The annual rate of core consumer price growth also accelerated to 3.8% in May, which represents the biggest jump since June of 1992.

Another data from the Labor Department showed a modest drop in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. The report said jobless claims dipped to 376,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 385,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to fall to 370,000.

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