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European markets close lower amid North Korea tensions; Coca-Cola Hellenic up 9%

Silvia Amaro

European markets closed lower on Thursday as investors reacted to corporate earnings and monitored geopolitical tensions surrounding North Korea.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 (STOXX: .STOXX) ended off by 1 percent with all sectors and major bourses moving south. Britain's FTSE 100 (FTSE International: .FTSE) slipped more than 1.4 percent on Thursday amid weaker-than-expected economic data. The U.K.'s benchmark index registered its worst trading day in four months.

Basic resources (STOXX: .STOXX) stocks were the worst performers on Thursday, down by over 1.5 percent, despite some buoyant earnings reports. Glencore (London Stock Exchange: GLEN-GB) increased its full-year year profit forecast for 2017. However, its shares dipped more than 2.4 percent. The world's biggest miner, BHP (London Stock Exchange: BLT-GB), said it would invest significantly in its nickel business as demand for electric vehicles picked up, Reuters reported. Its shares closed slightly lower.

Coca-Cola Hellenic (: OCCHN-MX) surged to the top of the European benchmark, up by over 9 percent after announcing that it remained on track to reach broad-based revenue and margin growth forecasts for the full year. Galapagos (Euronext Amsterdam: GLPG-NL) was also 8 percent higher following reports that a lung fibrosis drug passed a mid-stage study.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., stock indexes continued lower for a third consecutive day on Thursday as investors reacted to simmering tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Geopolitical fears remained the biggest concern after North Korea dismissed comments from President Donald Trump as a "load of nonsense" and said it was outlining plans for a missile strike near Guam, where the U.S. has a military base, in mid-August.

The flight-to-safety from global investors eased overnight, but it's continuing during European trading hours. Furthermore, a raid into the home of Trump's former 2016 campaign manager took place Wednesday, indicating that investigations into Russian interference in the election are escalating.

UK exports, French industrial output drop

Data out Thursday showed the U.K.'s trade deficit rising in June due to a fall in exports. The trade deficit went from £2 billion ($2.60 billion) in May to £4.56 billion ($5.92 billion) in June.

In France, industrial output contracted 1.1 percent on a monthly basis in June.

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