Europe’s banking index led the gainers on Thursday, up 1.5 percent amid reports of a potential merger. The German government is said to be in favor of a merger between state-backed Commerzbank and France’s BNP Paribas, German weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported Thursday – citing financial sources unable to be verified by CNBC. Commerzbank’s shares were more than 3 percent higher while BNP Paribas was up 1 percent on the news.
Meantime, basic resources stocks were lower after an earthquake in Mexico rattled mining stocks. A 7.1 magnitude quake hit Mexico’s capital on Tuesday, with the death toll surpassing 200. Shares in precious metal miner Fresnillo, which is headquartered in Mexico City, fell 2.2 percent on Thursday. In a statement, the company said its offices were unaffected by the quake.
Looking at individual stocks, ailing British outsourcing giant Capita reported underlying revenue in the first six months of the year had fallen 3 percent as it worked its way through difficult contracts. The company, hampered by a Brexit slowdown, said an overhaul of its operations, as well as its search for a new chief executive, remained on course. Its shares tumbled 11.5 percent.
On Wall Street, U.S. stocks fell slightly on Thursday after the Dow Jones industrial average touched a record led by bank stocks.