Today in the markets

The latest news and events driving markets around the world, supplied by Marketwatch and Reuters.

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European stocks snap 7-day winning streak as Nestlé, banks fall

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By Sara Sjolin and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch

Shares in major oil companies also finish in the red

European stocks closed lower for the first time in eight sessions on Thursday, weighed down by a slide in shares of heavyweight Nestlé, as well as a retreat for banks and major oil companies.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.4% to end at 370.10, pulling back from a more-than-one-year closing high (http:// reached on Wednesday.

Stock markets globally, including in Europe, have rallied in recent days after interest rate-hike signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve ( and pledges from President Donald Trump to announce a 'massive' tax plan soon ( massive-tax-plan-coming-in-not-too-distant-future-2017-02-15-10915125).


Banks pause for breath: Bank shares in particular have been driven higher, as investors welcomed the prospect of higher interest rates. Higher rates are seen as a positive for lending margins at financial institutions. However, on Thursday the sector took a breather, as the Stoxx Europe 600 Banks Index finished down 0.8%.

Shares of Banco Santander SA (SAN) (SAN) fell 1%, UBS Group AG (UBS) dropped 1.3%, and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK.XE)(DBK.XE) lost 2%.

Other movers: Shares of Nestlé SA (NESN.EB) also weighed on the pan-European index, ending down 1%. The move came after the consumer-products giant said sales slowed in 2016 ( forecast-subdued-2017-02-16), as it forecast subdued growth in 2017.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) lost 2.2% and BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) slid 2% after both companies went 'ex- dividend.' On the ex-dividend date, new investors in the stock will no longer be entitled to the next round of dividend payouts. The oil giants' drops came as oil prices headed lower ( range-as-higher-us-supply-overshadows-global-cuts-2017-02-16).

Drug maker AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) (AZN.LN) was also trading ex-dividend, helping to send the stock down 0.2%.

Shares of Cobham PLC (COB.LN) sank 15% after the U.K. defense and aerospace supplier warned on profit and said its balance sheet is too weak ( 44853619).

Schneider Electric SE (SU.FR) lost 4.2% after the power-equipment supplier reported 2016 profit that fell short of forecasts (

On an upbeat note, shares of Air France-KLM SA (AF.FR) rallied 13% after the airline said operating profit rose 35% in 2016 on a sharp drop in fuel costs ( 2017-02-16-14855528).

Other airlines tracked Air France higher. Shares of Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA.XE) finished up 2.2%, while British Airway-parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG.LN)(IAG.LN) added 0.6%.

Coca-Cola HBC AG gained 4.9% after the bottling company said profit rose last year ( coca-cola-hbc-2016-profit-up-lifts-dividend-2017-02-16) as it benefited from cost cuts and efficiency improvements.

Economic news: Unemployment in France ticked down to 10% in the fourth quarter ( french-unemployment-falls-slightly-to-10-2017-02-16), from 10.1% in the previous three-month period. Among people under the age of 25, the jobless rate declined to 23.8% in the fourth quarter, the lowest rate since early 2014.

Minutes from the European Central Bank's January meeting ( complacency-minutes-show-2017-02-16) revealed that officials saw 'no room for complacency' at their latest policy meeting, agreeing to continue their support for the eurozone's economy to help offset potential political risks. At the Jan. 17 meeting, the ECB kept policy on hold and said it saw no signs of a sustained pickup in inflation (http://

-Sara Sjolin; 415-439-6400;

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FTSE 100 ends slightly higher, but energy shares curb gains after OPEC decision

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By Carla Mozee and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch. British GDP estimate downwardly revised. After switching between small gains and losses, U.K. stocks ended slightly higher on Thursday as the impact from a weaker pound outweighed a drop for energy companies after OPEC agreed to extend output curbs.


Did this not-safe-for-work internet sensation just signal a top in bitcoin?

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'If that's not a sign of a bubble idk what is lol'. Dan Bilzerian's penchant for automatic weapons, high-stakes poker, fast women and faster cars has made him an unfiltered internet phenomenon. Now you can add bitcoin to his list.


Asia stocks higher; South Korea shares soar as interest rates hold steady

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Stocks in South Korea soared to a fresh high Thursday, leading broad gains across the region after the nation's central bank held interest rates at a record-low in a vote of confidence in the economy. The Kospi Index was last up 0.9%, with gains accelerating after the Bank of Korea's decision Thursday morning to hold rates at 1.25% for a 10th straight meeting. South Korea's stock market has been on a roll, hitting record highs as strong local corporate results and economic optimism...

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