Europe stocks close slightly higher as investors assess data; tech jumps 1% after Nvidia earnings

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This was CNBC's live blog covering European markets.

European markets closed slightly higher on Thursday as traders digested the minutes of the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and fresh economic data from the euro zone.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.06% higher at 4:30 p.m. in London, while sectors were mixed. Technology stocks rose 1.08%, helped by U.S. bellwether Nvidia, which posted stronger-than-expected fiscal first-quarter results after the Wall Street close.

Utilities dropped 2.78% as U.K. electricity and gas company National Grid plunged 11% after announcing a £7 billion ($8.9 billion) equity raise in its full-year results.

Investors are assessing U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's surprise announcement Wednesday that a General Election will be held on July 4, ending months of speculation over the date of a national vote. As polls stand, the ruling Conservative Party is expected to lose to the opposition center-left Labour Party.

Market reaction was muted, though the FTSE 100 index was slightly lower after U.K. inflation figures on Wednesday came in higher than expected, slashing bets on a June interest rate cut.

Traders are also unpacking the latest preliminary data from the euro zone and U.K. indicating business activity in the services and manufacturing sectors in May.

Asia markets traded mixed overnight as investors reacted to the Fed minutes. U.S. stocks opened mixed Thursday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumping 1% after the Nvidia results.

Europe markets close slightly higher

European markets closed slightly higher on Thursday as traders digested the minutes of the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and fresh economic data from the euro zone.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended up 0.06%, with most sectors and major bourses in mixed territory.

— April Roach

Hargreaves Lansdown rises 13% after rejecting £4.7 billion takeover offer

Hargreaves Lansdown's shares soared Thursday after the firm rejected a £4.7 billion takeover approach from a consortium which included CVC Capital and Abu Dhabi's wealth fund.

Shares were trading around 13.4% higher in London as of 3:45 p.m. local time.

Nordic Capital and Platinum Ivy were also among the companies bidding to buy Hargreaves Lansdown for 985 pence per ordinary share.

The British financial services firm's board unanimously rejected the proposal on the grounds that it "substantially undervalues" the company and its future prospects, it said in a Thursday statement.

- April Roach

U.S. stocks open mixed, tech stocks jump

U.S. stocks opened mixed Thursday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumping 1% on strong Nvidia results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1% in early deals, while the S&P 500 added 0.5%.

— Karen Gilchrist

Euro zone business activity grows at fastest pace for a year

Growth in euro zone business activity hit a 12-month high in May, according to the Purchasing Managers' Index from HCOB and S&P Global.

The reading of 52.3 was slightly above the expectation of economists polled by Reuters of 52.

"The economic recovery in the eurozone gained momentum in May," the survey said. "Faster increases in business activity, new orders and employment were all recorded midway through the second quarter, while business confidence hit a 27-month high."

Inflation across input and output costs also eased, it said.

— Jenni Reid

National Grid’s new strategy a ‘transformational step up in energy infrastructure investment,’ CEO says

National Grid CEO John Pettigrew discusses the company's full-year results and investment plans over the next five years.

UK PMIs miss expectations but price data may be 'comfort' for BOE

Engineers prepare to move a train carriage at the Alstom train manufacturing facility on April 30, 2024 in Derby, England. 
Christopher Furlong | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Engineers prepare to move a train carriage at the Alstom train manufacturing facility on April 30, 2024 in Derby, England. 

U.K. economic output continued to rise in May, according to the closely-watched Purchasing Managers' Index from S&P Global, but missed economists' forecasts.

The pace of growth slowed as a rebound in manufacturing failed to overcome weakness in services.

The composite output figure produced by the survey was 52.8, down from 54.1 in April and against an estimate of 53.9, according to a Reuters poll. The 50 mark separates growth from contraction.

Business activity in the country's dominant services industry was at a six-month low, as providers saw the weakest cost pressures for more than three years.

The latter point may provide "some comfort" for the Bank of England after official statistics on services inflation came in hotter than expected on Wednesday, Andrew Wishart, senior U.K. economist at Capital Economics, said.

"Crucially, the further fall in the services output prices balance suggests that services inflation will continue to drop ... Overall, the flash May PMIs provide support to the idea that the April CPI inflation were more noise than signal," Wishart said, adding that this would provide support for an August rate cut from the BOE.

— Jenni Reid

Stocks on the move: QinetiQ, Gerresheimer up; National Grid down

Germany's Gerresheimer soared more than 12% in early trade, after the medical products and packaging producer announced it would acquire the holding company of Bormioli Pharma Group for an enterprise value of around 800 million euros ($866.32 million).

Gerresheimer said Bormioli had a complementary portfolio of pharmaceutical primary packaging in glass and plastic, and that the acquisition would strengthen its European footprint with new production sites.

U.K. aircaft engineering firm QinetiQ was also around 12% higher, after posting a 20% increase in operating profit in its full-year results.

National Grid, the operator of Britain's power network, dropped 9% after announcing a £7 billion equity raise as it looks to invest £60 billion in the five years to 2029. It also reported an 8% decline in operating profit.

— Jenni Reid

Europe stocks open higher

European stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday, with the Stoxx 600 index up 0.3% at 8:18 a.m. London time.

France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX were both down by 0.3%.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 bucked the trend to slip 0.1%, as traders digested a surprise election announcement and Wednesday's U.K. inflation figures, which curbed market expectations of a June rate cut.

— Jenni Reid

CNBC Pro: How family offices are planning to invest now and in the next 5 years, according to UBS

Family offices have increased their investments to developed market fixed income by the largest amount seen in five years, according to a new study by UBS.

This was among one of the major shifts seen in this survey of 320 global single family offices across seven regions — the largest family office study UBS has carried out to date.

Here's how family offices are investing this year and how they plan to change their allocations in the next five years.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Fed minutes affirm higher for longer

The hawkish tone of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting indicates "higher for longer is the official mantra," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

"Given that rate cuts are off the table, bears would normally get excited, but because Chair Powell officially took rate hikes off the table, the market is going to fluctuate based on other factors," Zaccarelli said.

He added that Nvidia's earnings after the bell will dictate which direction the market moves in the coming days.

— Hakyung Kim

Fed still worried about inflation, minutes show

The minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent meeting showed the central bank remains concerned about U.S. inflation.

"Participants observed that while inflation had eased over the past year, in recent months there had been a lack of further progress toward the Committee's 2 percent objective," the summary stated. "The recent monthly data had showed significant increases in components of both goods and services price inflation."

"Various participants mentioned a willingness to tighten policy further should risks to inflation materialize in a way that such an action became appropriate," the minutes added.

— Fred Imbert

CNBC Pro: This global private equity stock invested in SHEIN, Figma, Databricks, Discord, and ByteDance could rise by 40%, analysts say

A diversified listed private equity investment company could see its share price rise by more than 40%, according to analysts at investment banks Peel Hunt and Jefferies.

The close-ended fund has investments in high-profile private companies such as SHEIN, Figma, Databricks, Discord, and ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, among others.

It has assets worth nearly $4bn invested in over 1,000 companies.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are expected to open higher Thursday.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 1 point higher at 8,369, Germany's DAX up 4 points at 18,681, France's CAC 14 points higher at 8,101 and Italy's FTSE MIB up 30 points at 34,559, according to data from IG.

Earnings are set to come from Julius Baer, Acciona, Nationwide Building Society, Rolls-Royce, Aviva and Wizz Air. Preliminary euro zone services and manufacturing activity data for May is due, as are consumer confidence figures for the single currency area.

— Holly Ellyatt

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