The blue-chip FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was up just 0.1%, with Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc <HIK.L>, property website Rightmove Plc <RMV.L> and fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown <HRGV.L> topping the index as investors cheered their quarterly earnings updates. The mid-cap FTSE 250 <.FTMC> dipped 0.1%, with focus turning to the monthly U.S. employment - or nonfarm payrolls - report after weekly data on Thursday signalled a slowdown in the labour market's recovery. "People are just sitting on their hands and waiting to see how things play out with U.S. nonfarm payrolls," said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed 0.7% lower, with London's FTSE 100 falling 1.3% and the German DAX down 0.5%. Europe's mining index, which rallied earlier this week, shed 2.5% after Glencore became the first major mining company to scrap its dividend and said that it would prioritise cutting debt. Its shares slumped 8.1%, while energy majors BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total fell between 2% and 3.8% after strong gains on Wednesday.
Glencore <GLEN.L> dropped 8.1% as it also booked a $3.2 billion impairment charge, driving the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> down 1.3%. With the pound <GBP=> stronger, London shares in miners BHP <BHPB.L>, Rio Tinto <RIO.L> fell after solid gains on Tuesday, as did oil majors BP <BP.L> and Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L>. The BoE said the British economy would not recover to its pre-pandemic size until the end of next year - later than its earlier estimate, but its projections for 2020 were less grim than in May. There was no immediate case to cut rates below zero, it added.