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Europe stocks close lower as earnings dampen rally following soft U.S. inflation data; BT up 17%

This was CNBC's live blog covering European markets.

European stocks closed lower Thursday as earnings weighed on a relief rally for global markets following softer-than-expected U.S. inflation data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended the session down by 0.24%, with sectors trading in mixed territory. Oil and gas stocks lost 1% while mining stocks added 0.9%.

BT closed 17% higher after announcing another cost-cutting program, as the stock notched a record daily gain since at least 2006, according to LSEG data.

EasyJet, meanwhile, fell 7.2% before paring losses slightly after the low-cost airline posted a slightly larger than expected pre-tax loss of £350 million ($443 million) for the first half of the year.

Insurance stocks gained 1.5% following strong earnings from Swiss insurers. Swiss Re shares gained 3.9% while Zurich Insurance shares added 2.3%.

Elsewhere, earnings also came from Siemens and Deutsche Telekom.

The U.S. consumer price index rose 0.3% in April, below the 0.4% rise predicted by the Dow Jones, data released Wednesday showed. Consumer prices still grew 3.4% from a year ago, in line with market estimates, but the data has encouraged traders to believe that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin to cut rates in the near future.

Asia-Pacific markets rose Thursday after Wall Street benchmarks closed at record highs overnight following the inflation data. U.S. stocks opened flat Thursday.

European stock markets closed slightly lower on Thursday, with the Stoxx 600 index falling 0.24%.

Major bourses closed in the red, with Germany's DAX down 0.76%, as France's CAC 40 and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 retreated by 0.63% and 0.08%, respectively.

— Jenni Reid

The European Central Bank is highly likely to cut interest rates in