Investing.com - European markets opened lower on Thursday, as investors remained cautious ahead of the Bank of England's monthly policy decision due later in the day and as volatiliy did not seem to have completely subsided for equities.
Concerns over recent volatility on global stock markets persisted on Thursday. Equities wordlwide plummeted late last week after a strong U.S. jobs report sparked concerns over rising inflation.
Markets began to stabilize on Wednesday but traders were still cautious as high bond yields could cause them to plunge again.
European equities also found some support after German political leaders reached a breakthrough in coalition talks on Wednesday, putting an end to months of uncertainty.
Financial stocks were mostly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) gained 0.34% and 4.03%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) and Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) were up 0.04% and 3.47%.
Societe Generale earlier reported a small fourth-quarter profit, beating expectations for a loss, while Commerzbank said it may resume dividend payments for the first time in three years after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue of €2.19 billion.
Among peripheral lenders however, Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) tumbled 0.90% and Unicredit (MI:CRDI) advanced 2.87% in Italy, while Banco Santander (MC:SAN) dropped 0.56% and BBVA (MC:BBVA) edged up 0.12% in Spain.
Unicredit reported on Thursday its highest fourth-quarter profit in 10 years, beating analysts' estimates.
Elsewhere, Publicis Groupe SA (PA:PUBP) saw shares surge 4.56% even as the French advertising group Publicis said it plans to downwardly revise its 2018 profit target. The company reported a 0.8% rise in 2017 underlying sales to €9.69 billion.
In London, the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 slid 0.41%, weighed by sharp losses in the mining sector.
Sage Group (LON:SGE) was one of the worst performers on the index, with shares down 2.38% after UBS downgraded its ‘sell’ recommendation on the stock to “neutral”.
Financial stocks were also on the downside, as Barclays (LON:BARC) fell 0.30% and HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) retreated 0.45%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) and Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) declined 0.68% and 0.89% respectively.
Meanwhile, Compass Group PLC (LON:CPG) was one of the top performers, with shares up 5.29% after the catering company said it expected full-year organic revenue growth to be at the higher end of its forecast, thanks to ongoing strength in the North American market and better-than-expected performance in Europe.
Later Thursday, the BoE was expected to leave its monetary policy on hold. Investors will especially be focusing on the central bank's statement for potential indications on future policy moves.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.24% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.23% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.40% increase.
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