Stock indices closed lower on worries over a slowdown in the Chinese economy. The Chinese preliminary Markit/Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) decreased to 47.1 in August from 47.8 in July, missing expectations for a decline to 47.7, and hitting a 77-month low.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has submitted his resignation on Thursday evening and called for early elections. He is seeking a mandate to implement reforms.
The election is expected to be held on September 20.
Meanwhile, the economic data from the Eurozone was mostly positive. Eurozone's preliminary consumer confidence index rose to -6.8 in August from -7.1 in July, beating expectations for a gain to -6.9.
Eurozone's preliminary manufacturing PMI remained unchanged at 52.4 in August. Analysts had expected index to decline to 52.2.
Eurozone's preliminary services PMI rose to 54.3 in August from 54.0 in July. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged at 54.0.
Markit's Senior Economist Rob Dobson said that Eurozone's economy "is still experiencing one of its best periods of economic growth and job creation during the past four years".
"GDP growth is tracking close to 0.4% so far in the third quarter, slightly above the 0.3% seen in quarter 2, highlighting the resilience of the economy through last month's rollercoaster events of the Greek debt crisis and the ongoing negotiations to tie up the full details surrounding the third bailout," he added.
Germany's preliminary manufacturing PMI climbed to 53.2 in August from 51.8 in July, exceeding forecasts of a decline to 51.7.
Germany's preliminary services PMI was down to 53.6 in August from 53.8 in July. Analysts had expected index to climb to 53.9.
Markit's economist Oliver Kolodseike noted that the German economy was driven by higher output and new orders.
"Based on PMI data available for the third quarter so far, we should expect German GDP to increase at a similar rate to the 0.4% seen in the three months to June," he noted.
France's preliminary manufacturing PMI dropped to 48.6 in August from 49.6 in July, missing forecasts of a rise to 49.7.
France's preliminary services PMI fell to 51.8 in August from 52.0 in July. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged at 52.0.
"Output growth in France's private sector economy cooled to a four-month low in August, suggesting that third-quarter GDP may disappoint again following stagnation in Q2. An improvement in service providers' business expectations to a near three-and-a-half year high provided some rare positive news, but manufacturing continued to struggle amid a sharper drop in new orders," the Senior Economist at Markit Jack Kennedy said.
Indexes on the close:
Name Price Change Change %
FTSE 100 6,187.65 -180.24 -2.83 %
DAX 10,124.52 -307.67 -2.95 %
CAC 40 4,630.99 -152.56 -3.19 %