EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Waver At 2-year High With Decision On U.K. Rates On Deck

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

German jobless claims fall

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European stocks wobbled around a 2-year high Thursday as investors waited to see if U.K. borrowing rates will be raised for the first time since the global financial crisis.

But the market had plenty of corporate earnings reports to consider, with Swiss lender Credit Suisse Group AG saying its profit has climbed.

What markets are doing:

The Stoxx Europe 600 index shed 0.1% at 396.46. The health care, tech, oil and gas and industrial sectors were lower, but telecom, financial and consumer-related shares were among those advancing. On Wednesday, the regional benchmark rose 0.4% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-leap-to-2-year-high-as-commodity-shares-march-up-2017-11-01) and ended at its highest since August 2015, according to FactSet data.

Germany's DAX 30 index was off 0.2% at 13,440.99 following Wednesday's all-time closing high.

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France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1% to 5,510.32, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,493.80.

What's moving markets:

Investors in the U.K. and across Europe were waiting to see if the Bank of England will raise its key interest rate by a quarter-percentage point to 0.5%. The decision is due at 12 p.m. London time, or 8 a.m. Eastern Time. Gov. Mark Carney will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. London time.

The first rate rise since July 2007 would come at a time when British headline inflation stands at 3%, above the bank's 2% target. It would also come at a time when economic growth is weak, and there's lingering uncertainty about Brexit. On this so-called Super Thursday, the BOE will also release minutes of its meeting and its Quarterly Inflation Report.

Read:5 things investors need to know as the Bank of England prepares for historic rate hike (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-things-investors-need-to-know-as-the-bank-of-england-prepares-for-historic-rate-hike-2017-10-31)

Also check out:Here's how a Bank of England rate hike could 'kill' the British pound (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-a-bank-of-england-rate-hike-could-kill-the-british-pound-2017-11-01)

What strategists are saying:

A Bank of England vote split of 9-0, 8-1 or 7-2 would be taken as hawkish, or signal a greater chance of further hikes next year, said ETX Capital's senior market analyst Neil Wilson in a note.

"Anything closer would cast a huge amount of doubt over further hikes. And there is the language in the release to consider, as well as how the Bank sees the U.K. economy performing. With Brexit not settled, such forecasts need to be taken with a pinch of salt," he said.

"With a hike expected, for sterling a lot rests on the language contained in the meeting minutes as well as the inflation report projections for a handle on the path of monetary policy," Wilson added.

Ahead of the statement, sterling bought EUR1.1374, which is down from EUR1.1399 late Wednesday in New York. The euro traded at $1.1643, less than $1.1621 in the previous session.

Stock movers:

Playtech PLC shares (PTEC.LN) plunged 20% as the gambling-software maker warned group performance will be below expectations for the year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/playtech-warns-on-2017-over-asia-slowdown-2017-11-02) because of a slowdown in parts of Asia.

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.EB) (CSGN.EB) gained 3.8% as the Swiss lender said third-quarter net profit jumped to 244 million francs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/credit-suisse-net-profit-surges-beating-forecasts-2017-11-02) ($244.2 million) on strong growth in wealth management.

Randgold Resources (RRS.LN) (RRS.LN) dropped 6.7% as the miner said its pretax profit fell in the third quarter after a decline in production. Production was down 9% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/randgold-profit-hit-by-fall-in-production-2017-11-02) to 310,618 ounces of gold compared with the second quarter.

Shares of Howden Joinery Group PLC (HWDN.LN) drove up 8%, with the kitchen products supplier saying quarterly profit climbed 8.2% on stronger volume growth. It also said it's on track to meet its full-year expectations.

Data:

German jobless claims fell by 11,000 in October (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-jobless-claims-drop-meeting-forecasts-2017-11-02) as the 5.6% unemployment rate remained at a record low, the Federal Employment Agency said.

IHS Markit said its final eurozone manufacturing PMI came in at 58.5 in October compared with the 58.6 flash estimate.

IHS Markit also issued its U.K. construction PMI for October. The reading of 50.8 beat the 48.0 FactSet estimate.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 02, 2017 06:24 ET (10:24 GMT)