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European stocks close lower, Greece in spotlight

European equities closed lower on Thursday, as Greece remained in the spotlight and following a spike in bond yields after comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed around 0.8 percent lower.

French and German stocks pared losses during the day, however both closed lower around 0.9 and 0.7 percent respectively. The benchmark U.K. FTSE 100 closed around 1.3 percent lower, after the Bank of England kept its key interest rates on hold.

Volatility here to stay?

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IBEX 35
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Draghi spurred bond yields at his regular press conference on Wednesday, saying investors should get "used to" volatility in markets.

This pushed bund yields to sell-off, sending the 10-year closer to the 1 percent handle and weighing on equities. However, by the close, bunds yields had fallen back to around 0.82 percent.

Greece remains in focus for markets as a deal between the country and its international creditors over reforms and Greece's bailout program remain unresolved.

On Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras emerged from late-night talks with senior European officials in Brussels saying a deal with creditors was "within sight" and that Athens would make a 300 million euro ($338 million) payment due to the IMF on Friday.

However, euro zone creditors said that while they had come to some agreement early on Thursday, differences still remained.

In individual stocks news, shares in agrochemical maker Syngenta rallied up to close around 1.2 percent, after Reuters reported that German chemicals group BASF was considering a bid for the group, after it turned down a $45 billion offer from rival chemical and seed firm Monsanto.

Easyjet outperformed the broader FTSE index, closing around 0.6 percent, after May traffic data cheered investors. Ryanair shares were also given a lift.

U.S. stocks traded lower on Thursday as the recent bond selloff kept investors on edge in the build up to Friday's employment report.

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