LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets limped Thursday morning as investors pondered the Federal Reserve's hints on Wednesday at a hike in U.S. interest rates in December.
In London, the FTSE 100 was off 0.97% at 6,375.40, while in Paris the CAC 40 was off 0.67% at 4,857.86. In Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.21% at 10,809.25.
Finnish telecoms company Nokia (NOK - Get Report) rang up a 9.4% hike in its share price this morning to €6.65 as it announced it will return €4 billion ($4.38 billion) to investors via share buybacks and dividends. The surge came despite some disappointing third quarter sales numbers -- down 2% from the same quarter in 2014, and as much as 10% on a constant currency basis.
But investors were cheered by improved margins at the company's dominant Networks business and by the announcement that the return of cash and a €3 billion deleveraging program would bring forward the synergies it expects from its €15.6 billion acquisition of French peer Alcatel Lucent (ALU) .
Alcatel's share was also up 9% at €3.60.
In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank (DB - Get Report) gained a little at the open and then slumped, at one point reaching as low as €25.59, or more than 6% down on Wednesday's close. That was all in reaction to CEO John Cryan's plans to cull 9,000 jobs in three years, shed a further 6,000 consultants, slash the bank's global markets and investment banking businesses, and shrink its international presence by closing operations in 10 countries worldwide. By the end of the morning it was still down 4.76% at €26.23.
Similar falls were registered at Barclays (BCS) in London, as the British bank trimmed both its cost-cutting target and its targeted return on equity for next year and announced a sharp fall in third quarter profits, just one day after confirming the appointment of new chief executive Jes Staley, who starts in December. Barclays was down 4.94% at 240.65 pence.
But there was more bad news from the oil majors, as Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) posted a pretax loss of $9.6 billion, taking hits in part from the cost of withdrawing from its controversial drilling projects in the Arctic and from Canadian oil sands. The Anglo-Dutch company dropped 2.3% to 1,698 pence.
In Brussels, Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) gave up most of the gains it made Wednesday on the announcement of an extended deadline until Nov 4 under the U.K. Takeover Code to formalise its £68 billion merger agreement with rival SABMiller (SBMRY) . It also said on Wednesday, it had financing in place to cover the deal. By late morning AB InBev was down 0.14% at €107.45
In Asia, the picture was mixed. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 0.17% at 18,935.71, while the Topix was down just 0.01% at 1,547.11. But in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng finished the day down 0.60% at 22,819.94 and in China, the Shanghai Composite rose by 0.36% to 3,387.315 and the tech heavy Shenzhen composite was up 0.24% at 3,533.31.