12:02 PM EDT, 09/21/2023 (MT Newswires) -- European stock markets closed sharply lower in Thursday trading as the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.30%, the Swiss Market Index was down 0.62%, France's CAC shed 1.59%, the FTSE in London lost 0.69%, and Germany's DAX closed 1.33% lower.
Consumer confidence fell for the second straight month in the EU and the euro area in September, according to the European Commission's flash estimate, as consumer confidence continued to fall further below its long-term average.
In the UK, the Bank of England ended its streak of 14 consecutive rate hikes Thursday when it left interest rates unchanged at 5.25%. The move comes after the Office for National Statistics reported an unexpected decline in food prices.
In Germany, exports to countries outside the European Union declined 1.7% in August compared with July, according to Germany's Federal Statistical Office.
In France, the bimonthly business climate in wholesale trade for September rebounded somewhat as the composite indicator rose two points from July to 94, according to business managers surveyed by the Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies.
In Switzerland, an expert group on economic forecasts raised its 2023 outlook for Switzerland's GDP adjusted for sporting events to 1.3% from its June forecast of 1.1%, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. However, the group lowered growth estimates for next year to 1.2% from 1.5%, which would be significantly below-average growth for the Swiss economy in both 2023 and 2024.
And in corporate news, News Corp. (NWS) and Fox (FOX) said Thursday that Rupert Murdoch will step down as chairman of each board, effective as of the companies' annual shareholder meeting in mid-November. Murdoch will become chairman emeritus of each company.
Mining stocks slumped in Thursday trading as BHP Group and Antofagasta fell 3.3% and 3.2% respectively on the FTSE in London, followed by Rio Tinto and Anglo American, which dropped dropped 2.7%, and Glencore, which was down 2.6%. Steel and mining giant ArcelorMittal lost 2.1% on the CAC in Paris.
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