LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets were volatile Thursday, rising at the open after an overnight rally in much of Asia but then dipping sharply before rising again as the morning wore on.
Although oil prices were up -- Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate were trading at $34.86 and $31.34, respectively -- mining stocks such as Anglo American (AAUKF) and Rio Tinto (RIO) were among the morning's fallers, after a relatively stronger start to the week. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a stark warning about slowing growth in 2016 and 2017, revising downward its forecasts for such motors of the global economy as the U.S., the U.K. and Germany, but keeping its growth figure for China unchanged at 6.5% for 2016 and 6.2% for next year and raising its forecast for India marginally from 7.3% to 7.4% this year.
Meanwhile, London is waiting nervously for the results of Prime Minister David Cameron's make or break talks in Brussels, designed to secure the needs of the U.K. and the British financial services sector in reforms that would allow him to campaign for the country to remain in the European Union. Once a deal is agreed by the E.U.'s 28 member nations, Britain will head for an "in/out" referendum, which could come as early as June this year.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.36% at 6,008.63, while in Paris the CAC40 was up 0.55% at 4,256.89. In Frankfurt, the DAX was up 1.04% at 9,474.67.
But company results were also big news this morning. Swiss food group Nestle fell over 4% in early trading as it reported a failure to meet its sales growth target of 5% to 6% a year. This was in part due to a safety scare over its Maggi Noodles in India, but organic sales growth was also up by only 4.2% globally, instead of the "about" 4.5% forecast earlier. The stock recovered slightly later in the morning, but was still down by nearly 3.4% at Sfr71.60.
British can-maker Rexam (REXMY) reported pretax profit for the year to the end of December was £250.0 million ($357 million), down from £343.0 million in 2014, although this was partly due to exceptional items. The company is being taken over by U.S. rival Ball Corp. in a $7.7 billion deal and has been indulging in some cost-cutting ahead of completion as well as having to offer to sell certain subsidiaries to meet regulatory requirements. Rexam was down 0.33% at 600 pence.
Defense group BAE Systems (BAESY) was up 1.14% after sales of aircraft to Saudi Arabia took off last year and sales beat expectations. Sales rose 7.6% to £17.9 billion, surpassing forecasts of £17.5 billion. The company also expects a major role in the £31 billion renewal of Britain's controversial submarine-borne nuclear deterrent.
Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM (AFLYY) soared nearly 10% to €8.18 after clocking up profits of €127 million for 2015 after a loss of €216 million in 2014. That was mainly due to lower fuel costs, as 2015 was a difficult year for Air France in many ways. It was dogged by strikes and suffered some fall-off in demand after the Paris terrorist attacks.
In Japan, Toyota (TM - Get Report) closed up 1.71% at ¥6,180.0, despite a decision to recall about 2.87 million sport-utility vehicles worldwide after rear seat belts separated. One such incident was involved in a fatal accident in Canada; another in a crash in the U.S. where a passenger was injured.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 2.28% at 16,196.80 and the TOPIX finished the day up 2.25% at 1,311.20. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed up 2.32% at 19,363.08, but in mainland China, the Shanghai and Shenzhen Composite CSI300 finished down 0.31% at 3,053.7.