European stocks hovered near three-month lows on Thursday, as investors digested hawkish signals from Fed and ECB policymakers and waited for the Bank of England’s interest-rate decision later in the day.
Meanwhile, the Swiss National Bank continued its policy tightening with yet another hike to its interest rates, but at a slower pace as expected.
After hiking its policy rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent, Switzerland’s central bank said more such moves are likely to counter rising inflationary pressures.
In economic releases, French manufacturers’ confidence unexpectedly improved in June underpinned by the strength in the past and future production as well as the increase in order books, monthly data from the statistical office INSEE revealed earlier today.
The manufacturing sentiment index rose to 101 in June from a 26-month low of 99 in May. The reading was forecast to remain unchanged at 99.
The pan European STOXX 600 was down 0.9 percent at 452.93 after declining half a percent on Wednesday.
The German DAX dropped 0.7 percent, France’s CAC 40 fell 1.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 0.9 percent.
Selling was seen across the board, with banks and tech stocks declining the most.
Automakers Renault, BMW, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen dropped 1-2 percent after U.S. lawmakers late on Wednesday urged the Federal Trade Commission to finalize new consumer protections for car buyers.
Shares of British grocery delivery firm Ocado Group soared 42 percent after the Times newspaper reported possible talk of bid interest in the company.
Premier Inn owner Whitbread fell more than 2 percent after its Q1 trading update.
Novo Nordisk declined 1.7 percent. The healthcare company said the European Union’s drug watchdog had last month raised a thyroid cancer safety signal for several of its drugs.
SES SA shares jumped 5.2 percent in Paris after the company confirmed that it has ceased merger talks with Intelsat to create a satellite giant.
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