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European markets mixed; investors await Bank of England policy decision

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was slightly lower while sectors and major bourses traded in different directions.

Basic resources were the worst-performing sector in early deals as mining stocks lagged. Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Anglo American were all down more than a percent.

Financial services also sunk lower, led by losses for Provident Financial. The firm fell more than 4 percent after RBC cut its price target to 775 pence from 2650 pence.

It was supermarket Morrisons that sat at the bottom of the European benchmark in mid-morning deals, however, despite reporting a 40 percent rise in profits for the first half of the year. The stock was down 4.6 percent.

On the other end, retail stocks moved higher. British retailer Next rose to the top of the benchmark after upgrading its full-year sales and profits forecast. The company now predicts full-year profits of between £687 million and £747 million, compared with its previous estimate of £680 million and £740 million. The stock was up almost 11 percent. Meanwhile, John Lewis fell lower after reporting a 50 percent fall in profits following its restructuring. Profit before tax fell 53.3 percent to £26.6 million for the half-year ending 29 July

The oil and gas sector also moved into positive territory, buoyed by an announcement from the International Energy Agency Wednesday saying that global demand is catching up with supply. Brent traded at $55.41 Thursday, while WTI was at $49.59.

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