European stock markets closed lower on Wednesday after more weakness swept through commodity-focused companies, some real estate groups declined and investors reacted to quarterly earnings reports.
Oil stocks weighed on markets throughout much of the afternoon as the release of weekly U.S. commercial crude inventory data loomed, while profit taking swept through the mining sector ahead of earnings announcements, following months of solid gains.
It was a similar story for real estate companies as continental Europe's largest commercial property investor, Klepierre, geared up to release its third-quarter statement after the market closed on Wednesday.
The FTSE 100 led the charge toward the bottom, falling by 0.85% to 6,958.09, while the DAX and the CAC 40 both declined at a more moderate pace. The DAX was 0.44% lower at 10,709.68 by the close and the CAC 40 was down by 0.14% to 4,534.59.
The Europe Stoxx 600 index, the broadest measure f European stocks, fell by 0.38% on Wednesday to close at 341.76.
Fixed-income markets in the U.K. were still on edge over comments delivered on Tuesday by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. These appeared to suggest that the monetary policy committee has now quietly shelved the idea of pushing through another interest rate cut later in the year.
Carney's comments are the latest from a central banker which appear to have signaled that monetary policy cannot get much looser than it already is, and that the days of current policies are numbered.
The ECB prompted similar concerns recently when it appeared to be growing reluctant, or at least losing enthusiasm, for the idea of an extension to the life of its bond buying program beyond March 2017.
UK Gilt yields were up sharply at 1.05% while German and French yields both also rose, to 0.08% and 0.36% respectively.
The pound and the euro were both higher against the dollar for the session, with the pound trading at 1.2231 and the euro at 1.0908 against the U.S. currency shortly after stock markets closed in London.
In the U.K. the majority of losses for individual stocks were spread across oil and mining stocks, although some consumer-facing firms also featured among the big fallers.
On the FTSE 100, Antofagasta (ANFGY) was down close to 4% at the close after it said that full-year copper production would be close to the lower end of its earlier guidance, before slashing forecasts for 2017 production.
Whitbread (WTBCY) fell sharply, by more than 4%, bringing its total two-day declines to nearly 9%. This was as the hotel operator and owner of the Costa Coffee chain reported on Tuesday that sales growth had slowed during the recent quarter and that margins were down by 170 basis points.
Across the English channel in France, CAP Gemini (CGEMY) fell by 7%, making it the largest faller on the CAC 40.
The IT-focused management consultancy reported 2.2% growth in revenue for the third quarter, which missed the consensus for 3.2% growth. Management also warned on a conference call that the company will likely face further headwinds to growth over the coming quarters.
Europe's largest commercial real estate investor, Klepierre (KLPEF) , became the second largest faller on the CAC 40 as investors cashed out ahead of third-quarter results due later on Wednesday. The stock was down by more than 3% at the close.
In Germany, the steel maker and industrial powerhouse ThyssenKrupp (TYEKY) saw its stock become the top faller on the DAX index after dropping more than 2.5%.
The price action came amid mixed news flow. Morning press reports suggested that Thyssen has resumed talks with a prospective South American buyer over a steel plant in Brazil, but Moody's later came out and gave the industry a thumbs-down.
The ratings agency said that rising materials prices and competition from cheap Chinese and Russian imports would conspire to ensure that the credit outlook remains bleak for the steel sector over the next 18 months.