Stock indices traded lower on concerns over the slowdown in the Chinese economy. The People's Bank of China (PBoC) continued to devaluate the yuan. The central bank set the yuan midpoint at 6.5646, down 0.5% from the day before. It was the lowest level since March 2011. Trading was halted after stocks plunged.
Falling oil prices also weighed on the stock markets.
Meanwhile, the economic data from Eurozone was mixed. The European Commission released its economic sentiment index for the Eurozone on Thursday. The index increased to 106.8 in December from 106.1 in November. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged at 106.1.
The increase was driven by higher confidence in industry.
The industrial confidence index climbed to -2.0 in December from -3.2 in November, exceeding expectations for a gain to -2.9.
The final consumer confidence index was up to -5.7 in December from -5.9 in November, in line with expectations.
The business climate index increased to 0.41 in December from 0.36 in November. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 0.40.
Eurostat released its unemployment data for the Eurozone on Thursday. Eurozone's unemployment rate declined to 10.5% in November from 10.6% in October. It was the lowest reading since October 2011. October's figure was revised down from 10.7%. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to rise to 10.7%.
Destatis released its retail sales for Germany on Thursday. German adjusted retail sales rose 0.2% in November, missing forecasts of a 0.5% gain, after a 0.1% fall in October. October's figure was revised up from a 0.4% drop.
On a yearly basis, German unadjusted retail sales jumped 2.3% in November, missing expectations for a 2.4% gain, after a 2.1% rise in October.
German seasonal adjusted factory orders climbed 1.5% in November, exceeding expectations for a 0.1% increase, after a 1.7% rise in October. October's figure was revised up from a 1.8% gain.
The rise was driven by an increase in foreign and domestic orders. Foreign orders increased by 0.6% in November, while domestic orders rose by 2.6%.
Halifax released its house prices data for the U.K. on Thursday. House prices in the U.K. jumped 1.7% in December, exceeding expectations for a 0.5% gain, after a flat reading in November. November's figure was revised up from a 0.2% decrease.
On a yearly basis, house prices climbed 9.5% in the three months to December, after a 9.0% increase in the three months to November. Analysts had expected the index to rise 9.0%.
"There remains, however, a substantial gap between demand and supply with the latest figures showing a further decline in the number of properties available for sale. This situation is unlikely to change significantly in the short-term, resulting in continuing upward pressure on prices," Halifax's housing economist Martin Ellis said.
Name Price Change Change %
FTSE 100 5,909.61 -163.77 -2.70 %
DAX 9,842.79 -371.23 -3.63 %
CAC 40 4,353.58 -126.89 -2.83 %