European stocks fell sharply on Thursday, after the Japanese central bank disappointed investors by standing firm on rates. Benchmark indices extended losses in the course of the morning.
The Bank of Japan's inaction followed an interest-rate status quo on Wednesday from the Federal Reserve, whose relatively upbeat post-decision commentary failed to quash expectations of a rate rise later this year, possibly as early as June.
In London, the FTSE 100 was recently down 1.38% at 6,233.55. In Frankfurt, the Dax fell 1.51% to 10,144.79 and in Paris the Cac 40 fell 1.61% to 4,485.80.
S&P 500 mini futures were down 0.91%.
Stocks extended early losses after German government data showed the unemployment rate holding at a record low of 6.2% and the ranks of jobless unexpectedly shrinking by 16,000 in April, adding further color to a picture of economic recovery painted by the latest German Ifo business sentiment indicators released earlier this week.
Meanwhile, a slew of business, economic and consumer sentiment indicators for April from the European Commission came in ahead of expectations. Taken together the data make it less likely the European Central Bank will offer new stimuli to fan growth.
Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Report jumped 2.6% in Frankfurt after first-quarter earnings beat expectations, though Spain's second largest lender, BBVA, (BBVA) - Get Report plunged almost 8% in Madrid as its own earnings bulletin disappointed.
In Paris, Airbus (EADSY) slumped 5.5% after it warned of possible delays to deliveries of one of its military aircraft lines.
Sanofi (SNY) - Get Report fell 1.4% in Paris after the pharmaceuticals maker disclosed it had offered $9.3 billion for San Francisco biotech Medivation (MDVN) but failed to gain traction with the target.
Mining group Anglo American rose more than 3% in London after it announced an agreement to sell to China Molybdenum its niobium and phosphates businesses for $1.5 billion. That is the largest in a current round of disposals by the mining group.
The U.K.'s largest retailer lender, Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) - Get Report was down well over 3% despite reporting first-quarter earnings marginally ahead of expectations and a sharp decrease on write-downs for bad loans.
Oilfield and mining equipment maker Weir (WEGRY) was up about 8% after noting that it had exceeded expectations in the first quarter, partly thanks to cost cuts. The company has issued several profit warnings in recent years amid cutbacks by its resources-sector clients.
Advertising giant WPP (WEGRY) lost steam after once again warning on macro economic challenges, including the U.K.'s Brexit referendum, as it matched expectations with its first-quarter earnings bulletin and left the outlook unchanged.
Electrolux (ELUXY) surged almost 9% in Stockholm after it announced a more-than doubling of operating profit in the first three months to 1.27 billion Swedish kronor ($157.5 million) thanks to a dramatic recovery in its North American business. Electrolux last year lost out on the $3.3 billion purchase of GE's (GE) - Get Report appliance unit after the seller walked away amid a government lawsuit to block the deal.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 plunged 3.61% to 16,666.05 and the Topix dropped 3.16% to 1,340.55 as the yen gained following the Bank of Japan decision.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed up 0.12% to 21,388.03.
On mainland China the CSI 300 composite index fell 0.17% to 3,160.58.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) closed down 2.7%. The company reported a 12% rise in first-quarter operating profit to W6.68 trillion ($5.9 billion) as revenue rose 5.7%, boosted by strong sales of its new Galaxy S7 and S7 smartphones. However, display panel earnings fell sharply. It predicted steady earnings in its mobile and semiconductor businesses in the second quarter, with its consumer electronics and display panel divisions tipped to improve.