U.K.'s GDP growth confirmed at 0.3%
European stock markets notched small gains Thursday, with investors taking a cautious approach as the Jackson Hole summit that's been hanging over markets this week was finally about to kick off.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed up 0.2% at 374.51, partly recouping a 0.5% loss from Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-tilt-lower-even-as-factory-activity-stays-strong-2017-08-23).
Stock markets in Europe and the U.S. have flip-flopped between gains and losses this week, with volatility driven in part by U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to shutdown the government (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-shutdown-threat-rattles-stock-market-2017-08-23) and uncertainty ahead of the annual gathering of global central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The central-bank summit begins on Thursday and runs through Saturday. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will speak on Friday, with markets watching for hints on the future path for monetary policy.
"While this gathering is unlikely to result in any major policy decisions, it is still important for investors because of the role of central banks continue to have in market valuations," said Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor, in a note.
"The big question for investors is whether conditions are changing, where markets will not be able to rely on central bank policies to support valuations forever," she added.
Read:Here's what investors will be watching when Draghi, Yellen speak at Jackson Hole (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-investors-will-be-watching-when-draghi-yellen-speak-at-jackson-hole-2017-08-22)
The euro has strengthened recently on expectations Draghi will soon announce the beginning of the end of the ECB's aggressive bond-buying program. ECB sources have said, however, the central bank boss won't discuss future policy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-slides-after-ecb-hints-at-no-hawkish-shift-at-jackson-hole-2017-08-16) at the Jackson Hole meeting.
The shared currency on Thursday bought $1.1803, not far off from $1.1808 late Wednesday in New York.
Stock movers: Shares of Dixons Carphone PLC (DC.LN) plunged 21% after the mobile phone and electrical retailer warned fiscal 2018 profit would be much lower than last year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dixons-carphone-warns-on-2018-profit-2017-08-24), blaming challenging conditions in the U.K. mobile phone market.
CRH PLC (CRG.DB) (CRG.DB) climbed 3.8% after the building-materials company said it's selling its Americas Distribution business to Beacon Roofing Supply Inc. (BECN) for $2.63 billion in cash (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/crh-to-sell-us-distribution-unit-in-26b-deal-2017-08-24). Additionally, the Dublin-based company said it would buy Fels, a German lime and aggregates business, for EUR600 million.
SimCorp AS (SIM.KO) tanked 9.8% after the Copenhagen-based software company's earnings missed expectations.
Carrefour SA (CA.FR) fell 2.1%. Deutsche Bank, referring to data from Kantar, said in a research note the French retailer experienced "another weak period" as its market share declined between July 10 through Aug. 6.
Economic news: Economic growth in the U.K. was confirmed at 0.3% in the second quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics's second estimate of the country's gross domestic product.
In France, confidence in the manufacturing sector jumped to an almost-decade high at 111 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-manufacturing-confidence-up-more-than-seen-2017-08-24) in August, up from 108 in July.
Indexes: Germany's DAX 30 index tacked on 0.1% to close at 12,180.83. France's CAC 40 index turned lower, ending down 2.3 points at 5,113.13. Spain's IBEX 35 moved up 0.2% to 10,357.40.
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% to 7,407.06 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-inches-higher-as-uk-growth-data-come-into-focus-2017-08-24).
-- Carla Mozée in London contributed to this article.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 24, 2017 12:48 ET (16:48 GMT)