Europe Markets

Europe stocks close higher after mixed PMI data

Europe stocks close slightly up on mixed PMI data

European shares closed slightly up on Thursday, after wavering throughout the day following mixed manufacturing and services data.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed up around 0.2 percent at 1,366.80 points on Thursday.

Weak data for France managed to cap gains on the CAC 40, which closed provisionally up 0.3 percent. The flash purchasing manager's index (PMI) for May the manufacturing and services industry in France fell back into contraction. It came in at 49.3, below the figure of 50.6 for last month.

However, Germany managed to match last month's figure and the German DAX Index closed provisionally up 0.3 percent. The euro zone's number also came in close to its previous reading.

Read MoreEuro zone economy loses steam as France lags

Meanwhile, the Italian FSTE MIB Index closed down around 1.2 percent. Italy has lagged other European markets in recent days, with analysts suggesting this weekend's elections for the European Parliament could prove risky to Italy's fragile coalition government.

China, Fed boosts sentiment

Europe's mining stocks are heavily exposure to China, and were bolstered on Thursday by upbeat data from the country. HSBC's flash PMI for May rose to a five-month high of 49.7 in China, above the April reading of 48.1. Asian equity markets rose on the data.

Read MoreChina factory activity has best showing in 5 months

U.S. stocks traded modestly higher on Thursday after the prior day's rally. This came after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting showed central bankers had discussed the prospect of raising interest rates from record lows, but had no imminent plans to do so.

Read MoreFed discussed rate hike procedures, no action soon

Royal Mail shares fall

In individual stocks news, the U.K.'s Royal Mail shares closed down around 10 percent after it posted a climb in profits but warned of rising competition.

Shares of drinks maker SABMiller closed up around 3 percent after it posted a 1 percent earnings rise on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail and General Trust reported a 36 percent rise in first-quarter pre-tax profit, and its shares closed up around 8 percent.

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