Stock indices traded lower on weak corporate earnings and on the Fed's interest rate decision. The Fed kept its interest rate unchanged at 0.25% - 0.50% as widely expected by analysts. But the Fed noted that it was "closely monitoring global economic and financial developments and is assessing their implications for the labour market and inflation, and for the balance of risks to the outlook". Market participants speculate that the Fed could delay its further interest rate hikes.
Meanwhile, the economic data from the Eurozone was mixed. Destatis released its consumer price data for Germany on Thursday. German preliminary consumer price index decreased 0.8% in January, in line with expectations, after a 0.1% decrease in December.
On a yearly basis, German preliminary consumer price index rose to 0.5% in January from 0.3% in December, in line with expectations.
The European Commission released its economic sentiment index for the Eurozone on Thursday. The index slid to 105.0 in January from 106.7 in December. December's figure was revised down from 106.8.
Analysts had expected the index to decline to 106.4.
The drop was driven by a fall in confidence in industry and a decline in consumer confidence.
The industrial confidence index fell to -3.2 in January from -2.0 in December, missing expectations for a drop to -2.4.
The final consumer confidence index was down to -6.3 in January from -5.7 in December, in line with expectations.
The business climate index decreased to 0.29 in January from 0.39 in December. December's figure was revised down from 0.41. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged at 0.39.
The Office for National Statistics released its U.K. GDP data on Tuesday. The preliminary U.K. gross domestic product (GDP) climbed 0.5% in the fourth quarter, in line with expectations, after a 0.4% rise in the third.
The growth was mainly driven by a strong output in the services sector, which climbed 0.7% in the fourth quarter.
Construction fell 0.1% in the fourth quarter, while production declined 0.2%.
On a yearly basis, the preliminary U.K. GDP increased 1.9% in the fourth quarter, in line with forecasts, after a 2.1% gain in the third quarter. It was the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2013.
In 2015 as whole, U.K. GDP rose 2.2%, after a 2.9% growth in 2014.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) released its retail sales balance data on Thursday. The CBI retail sales balance plunged to 16% in January from 19% in November.
Indexes on the close:
Name Price Change Change %
FTSE 100 5,931.78 -58.59 -0.98 %
DAX 9,639.59 -241.23 -2.44 %
CAC 40 4,322.16 -58.20 -1.33 %