Stock indices closed higher on mixed manufacturing PMIs from the Eurozone and after the release of the European Central Bank's (ECB) monetary policy minutes. Eurozone's preliminary manufacturing PMI increased to 52.3 in May from 52.0 in April. Analysts had expected index to remain unchanged at 52.0.
Eurozone's preliminary services PMI declined to 53.3 in May from 54.1 in April. Analysts had expected the index to fall to 53.9.
Markit's Chief Economist Chris Williamson said that Eurozone's economy is expected to grow around 2.0% this year. He added that it would be the best performance since 2010.
Germany's preliminary manufacturing PMI fell to 51.4 in May from 52.1 in April, missing forecasts of an increase to 52.3.
Germany's preliminary services PMI decreased to 52.9 in May from 54.0 in April, missing expectations for a fall to 53.9.
Markit's economist Oliver Kolodseike noted that it seems that the growth of German economy will remain sluggish in the coming months.
France's preliminary manufacturing PMI rose to 49.3 in May from 48.0 in April, beating forecasts of a rise to 48.5.
France's preliminary services PMI increased to 51.6 in May from 51.4 in April, missing expectations for a gain to 51.9.
The Senior Economist at Markit Jack Kennedy said that the French economy is expected to expand in the second quarter.
The European Central Bank's (ECB) its minutes of March meeting on Thursday. According to the minutes, the ECB said in its minutes that quantitative easing was working but the implementation of key reforms is needed for full benefits.
The Governing Council reiterated to keep its monetary policy "until the end of September 2016 and, in any case, until a sustained adjustment was visible in the path of inflation consistent with the Governing Council's aim of achieving inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term".
Eurozone's preliminary consumer confidence index declined to -5.5 in May from -4.6 in April.
Retail sales in the U.K. increased 1.2% in April, exceeding expectations for a 0.4% rise, after a 0.7% decline in March. March's figure was revised down from a 0.5% fall.
It was the highest increase since November 2014.
The rise was driven by higher sales of clothing, textiles and footwear, which climbed by 5.2% in April.
The ONS noted that sales were supported by warmer than average weather.
On a yearly basis, retail sales in the U.K. climbed 4.7% in April, beating forecasts of 3.8% increase, after a 4.0% rise in March. March's figure was revised down from a 4.2% gain.
Indexes on the close:
Name Price Change Change %
FTSE 100 7,013.47 6.21 0.09%
DAX 11,864.59 16.12 0.14%
CAC 40 5,146.7 13.40 0.26%