Bank and mining drag stocks down
European shares fell slightly on Thursday, weighed down by a pull-back in banking and mining stocks in a day where trading activity was dominated by a raft of company earnings.
Shares in British bank Barclays reversed course during the day to end down 2.6pc, as a surprise boost to its capital reserves failed to convince.
Some analysts flagged concerns over the sustainability of the bank's capital level in relation to the accounting treatment of its British pension scheme.
Losses in Barclays and in HSBC, which continued its slide after a disappointing update earlier this week, resulted in a 1pc fall for Europe's banking index.
The Basic Resources index was another weak spot, down 1.5pc, tracking weaker metal prices and weighed down by a drop in heavyweight Rio Tinto, which went ex dividend. Copper prices tumbled as worries about demand in China resurfaced after the country's housing minister suggested moves were afoot to stabilise the property market.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended down 0.1pc after hitting a 14-month high in the previous session.
Germany's DAX fell 0.4pc. There was little impact earlier in the session from data which confirmed the country's economy quadrupled its growth rate to 0.4pc in the fourth quarter.
French water and waste group Veolia dropped 5.8pc after pushing back its forecast for core earnings by a year.
The Iseq overall index of Irish shares closed down 1.11pc on Thursday, virtually wiping off all of the gains added a day previously.
Property investment firm Hibernia Reit was the day's biggest loser with shares down by 3.1pc. Building company CRH suffered losses of 3pc. Fuel retailer Applegreen was down by 2pc, while Smurfit Kappa lost 1.9pc over the course of Thursday.
Paddy Power shares were up by 1.6pc, while bread-maker Aryzta gained 1.1pc.