Markets

Europe Stocks Close Slightly Higher as Investors Monitor Earnings, ECB; VW Shares Slide 4%

Eric Piedmont | AFP | Getty Images

A trader checks his screens at investment bank Saxo Banque in Paris on June 23, 2016. European stocks rallied and the pound hit its highest level on June 23 as markets expected the Remain camp to come out on top in Britain’s referendum on EU membership.

  • European traders digested a busy morning of earnings, with Shell, Airbus, Stellantis, Total and Volkswagen just some of those reporting before the bell.
  • The ECB decided Thursday to keep interest rates and its monetary policy stance unchanged, despite ongoing inflationary pressures.

LONDON — European stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday as investors digested corporate earnings and a rate decision by the European Central Bank.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 provisionally ended up around 0.15%, with major bourses and sectors pointing in different directions.

European traders digested a busy morning of earnings, with Shell, Airbus, Stellantis, Total and Volkswagen just some of those reporting before the bell.

Stellantis shares fell 1.5% after reporting a 14% slump in third-quarter sales due to the global chip shortage. VW shares were down 4.4% after the automaker cut its deliveries outlook.

Oil giant Shell saw its shares slip over 3% after missing expectations on profit for the quarter. Meanwhile, shares of online pharmacy Zur Rose Group jumped 10% after announcing a collaboration with Roche.

Traders also monitored a rate decision by the ECB and a subsequent press conference with President Christine Lagarde.

The bank decided Thursday to keep interest rates and its monetary policy stance unchanged, despite ongoing inflationary pressures. Lagarde tried to play down the chances of a rate hike for 2022, hinting that market players might be getting ahead of themselves with their predictions.

Markets were fairly muted after the ECB's rate announcement, but southern European bond yields spiked after Lagarde's comments at the press conference, according to Reuters data.

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- CNBC's Eustance Huang contributed to this report.

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