European Equity Benchmarks Close Mixed

The broad-based major European markets were mixed in Thursday’s trading session, with the FTSE hitting a record high for the second straight day, while continental markets edged lower, burdened by falling banks and automotive stocks.

In economic news, home prices in Britain were stable in 2016, according to Nationwide’s most recent house price index report. Average home prices in the U.K. have risen by 4.5% in 2016, the same rate as in 2015. It also reported price growth in London ended the year below the U.K. average for first time in eight years.

“Looking ahead to 2017, house price prospects will depend crucially on developments in the wider economy,” said Nationwide in its report. “Like most forecasters, including the Bank of England, we expect the U.K. economy to slow modestly next year.”

In equities, precious metals companies helped lift the FTSE to a record high for the second straight day to 7,120.26, as Randgold Resources (GOLD) and Fresnillo rose 4.8% and 4.6% respectively. Other gainers included Hikma Pharmaceuticals, utilities provider United Utilities Group, and insurance company Old Mutual which were up 1.9%, 1.5%. and 1.4% respectively.

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