Europe closes slightly higher with Greece still in focus

Europe closes slightly higher with Greece still in focus
Europe closes slightly higher with Greece still in focus   

European equities closed slightly higher on Thursday, after paring gains as hopes waned that a deal between Greece and its bailout supervisors was near.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed up around 0.5 percent, having previously traded around 1 percent up during trade.

All major bourses pared gains during the session, with the U.K. benchmark FTSE 100 closing around 0.2 percent higher.

The French CAC and Germany's DAX closed slightly higher at 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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IBEX 35
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Greece continued to dominate the headlines, with a aid-for-reforms deal between Greece and its international bailout supervisors so far elusive.

On Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that "major differences" remained with Greece and that its negotiating team had left talks in Brussels, according to Reuters.

Read MoreHere we go again: Greek talks 'well away from an agreement'

Earlier in the day, the benchmark Athens Composite index closed over 8 percent higher, as hopes at the time were higher for a forthcoming deal.

Royal Mail tumbles

Why I won't buy RBS: Fund manager
Why I won't buy RBS: Fund manager   

Meanwhile in the U.K., investors reacted on Thursday after Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said the U.K. government would start selling its stake in RBS in the coming months. Shares of RBS closed around 1.9 percent higher.

The U.K. government has also sold part of its stake in the Royal Mail, raising £750 million ($1.6 billion). The government said it had completed the sale of its 15 percent stake via a share placing at 500 pence a share. Shares in the firm tumbled to close down around 4.5 percent, at the bottom of the FTSE 100.

Read MoreRBS share sale: What could put off investors?

Across the Atlantic, U.S. stocks traded slightly higher on Thursday as investors cheered a good retail sales report.

In Asia, equity markets in China lagged behind peers on Thursday, as investors awaited a raft of monthly indicators, including May retail sales and industrial production, that may shed light on the health of the world's second-largest economy.

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