LONDON — European stocks closed lower on Thursday amid market concerns around the region’s inflation outlook and coronavirus figures.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by 0.5% provisionally, with oil and gas dropping 1.8% as most sectors and major bourses sank deep into the red. Automakers were the outliers, climbing 0.3%.

The slump for European markets comes amid investor concerns over the inflation outlook in the region; data released on Wednesday showed euro zone inflation at 4.1% year-on-year in October, more than double the European Central Bank‘s target.

In its biannual stability report published Wednesday, the ECB warned of stretched valuations in property and financial markets, as the region continues to recover from the Covid pandemic on the back of ultra-low interest rates and massive stimulus measures.

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On Wall Street, U.S. stocks were mixed as investors grappled with seasonal Covid worries and ongoing inflation concerns, even as companies continued reporting blowout earnings.

Jobless claims for the week ended Nov. 13 totaled 268,000, according to Labor Department figures, little changed from a week ago but slightly higher than estimates.

Earnings in focus

European corporate earnings before the bell came from Thyssenkrupp, Royal Mail and the National Grid.

Royal Mail shares jumped 9.7% after the British postal giant announced that it will return £400 million ($539.8 million) to shareholders, and upped its full-year earnings outlook, following a strong first half.

Thyssenkrupp shares climbed 6.3% after the German conglomerate beat profit expectations and lifted its 2022 outlook.

German biotech firm Evotec also climbed 5% after announcing a new drug discovery alongside U.S. peer EQRx.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Polish parcel locker company InPost fell 15.2%, continuing Wednesday’s steep decline after cutting its full-year guidance amid slower-than-expected growth in the e-commerce market.

Shares of British manufacturing group Rotork fell 7.2% after a trading update.

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— CNBC’s Ryan Browne and Maggie Fitzgerald contributed to this market report.

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