LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets started well at the open Thursday, but were soon falling as companies announced disappointing results. However, oil prices picked up slightly after falling in Asia overnight, and Brent crude was up 1.81% at $33.70 a barrel.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.57% at 5,956.52 while in Frankfurt the DAX was down 0.99% at 9,783.27. In Paris, the CAC 40 was off 0.67% at 4,350.98.
In New York, futures for the S&P 500 were rising 0.4%.
In London, Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) - Get Report dropped 1.5% to 63.94 pence after the government confirmed it would postpone selling shares in the part-taxpayer owned bank to the public until "turbulent markets have calmed down."
Shares in Germany's Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Report fluctuated sharply either side of Wednesday's closing price of €16.88 after the Frankfurt lender announced its first annual loss since 2008. At €6.8 billion ($7.42 billion), the loss was even larger than the €6.7 billion previously trailed. The fourth-quarter loss of about €2.1 billion was in line with previous indications. Most of the losses were linked with either litigation charges of €5.2 billion for the year or restructuring costs of €900 million, related to cost cutting and repositioning announced in the fall.
Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche Holding saw its share price fall, despite delivering the mid-single digit sales growth at constant exchange rates it had forecast and even managing 1% growth after currency headwinds were taken into account. Net income rose 4% to Sfr9.06 billion in constant currency terms, but that was down 5% in francs. The share was down 3.87%, late morning Zurich time, at Sfr258.
Back in London, Daily Mail & General Trust, publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, middlebrow newspapers and the world's most popular English language newspaper Web site, produced a mixed bag of results from its range of businesses for the last three months of 2015. The newspapers saw a big year-on-year decline in print advertising -- £7 million ($10 million). That more than offset the 27%, £5 million rise in digital revenues from the Web site. Revenues also fell 6% at the company's B2B publications business Euromoney. But the company's digital information business generated good growth as did its events unit. Overall the company announced quarterly revenues of £500million, with underlying growth of 1%, in line with expectations. DMGT was down 0.53% at 658 pence.
FTSE 250 luxury shoemaker to the stars, Jimmy Choo, strutted up 1.34% to 129 pence, after reporting a 7% increase in revenues in 2015, crediting strong growth in Asia. But in Stockholm, Swedish fashion retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz, which aims at a less exclusive market than Jimmy Choo, dropped nearly 4%, as it reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profits. It blamed much of the trouble on a strong dollar, which led to higher purchasing costs, but also unseasonably warm weather in the fall.
Drinks maker Diageo (DEO) - Get Report tottered and then fell over in the course of the morning after the company that markets Smirnoff vodka and Guinness stout said sales volumes improved slightly but performance was undermined by exchange rate movements and emerging markets volatility. It was down 1% at 1,848.5 pence mid-morning.
In the Far East, Korean conglomerate Samsung Group engineered another reshuffle of its holdings to strengthen the founding Lee family's control. Samsung Life Insurance Co. agreed to spend 1.54 trillion Korean won ($1.27 billion to buy shares in Samsung Card Co. from Samsung Electronics Co., taking its holding in the credit card business to 71.9%. Samsung Card closed up 10.41% at W35,000.00, while Samsung Life dropped 1.02% to W97,400.00.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.71%at 17,041.45, while the TOPIX was off 0.61% at 1,392.10. In Hong Kong, though, the Hang Seng closed up 0.75% at 19,195.83, while in Seoul the KOSPIUwas up 0.48% at 1,906.94. China's Shanghai and Shenzhen composite CSI300 finished the day down 2.61% at 2,853.76.