European stocks slid, extending losses as miners and oil shares deepened declines and investors weighed the prospect of a Federal Reserve rate increase.
Commodity producers posted the worst performance among industry groups as BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Plc lost 2 percent or more. BP Plc and Tullow Oil Plc fell at least 1.4 percent as oil dropped to its lowest level since March. Among shares moving on earnings, Zurich Insurance Group AG slid 4.6 percent after posting worse-than-estimated profit.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.8 percent to 400.7 at the close of trading, the most since July 27. The benchmark measure rose for the sixth time in seven days on Wednesday as miners rallied. It has surged 17 percent this year.
“If oil hovers at a certain level then we assume it has bottomed, and then we are hit with another massive selloff,” said Ben Kumar, who helps manage about $14 billion at Seven Investment Management. “It’s hard to factor in what this will do to energy companies, and that gets people nervous. The real game in town is the Fed, and that will dominate thinking for most of August.”
Investors are awaiting a government payrolls report on Friday for clues on when the Fed will move on raising borrowing costs, a decision it has forecast for this year.
The Bank of England cut its near-term inflation forecast, while officials voted 8-1 to keep the benchmark rate at a record low. The minutes were published alongside the decision for the first time, in what was dubbed Super Thursday. U.K. stocks were little changed, erasing an earlier drop.
Separately, data showed German factory orders increased 2 percent in June, a faster pace than economists had forecast.
BP and SABMiller Plc are among 18 Stoxx 600 companies trading without the right to dividends on Thursday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Novozymes A/S slid 13 percent after earnings missed estimates and it predicted a slower pace of 2015 sales growth. Deutsche Post AG slipped 3.6 percent after cutting its annual profit projection.
Old Mutual Plc added 4.9 percent after reporting an increase in first-half earnings. Munich Re climbed 1.5 percent after raising its full-year profit forecast.
Quindell Plc plummeted 28 percent on its first day of trading since a suspension in June, when the company said it’s being investigated by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority. The Serious Fraud Office is now probing its business and accounting practices.
OCI NV rallied 3.6 percent after the fertilizer company agreed to merge some of its businesses with CF Industries Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at about $8 billion. Its shares were suspended earlier.
In Greece, where markets reopened on Monday after a five-week suspension, the ASE Index rebounded 3.7 percent from a three-day rout. National Bank of Greece SA surged 27 percent, pushing a gauge of the nation’s banks up 18 percent. Lenders lost more than half their value earlier this week.
(An earlier version was corrected to show that German factory orders beat estimates, not missed, in June.)