Europe shares close flat, unmoved by weak US GDP

European shares closed flat on Thursday following U.S. growth data, and as investors eyed a possible shift in policy by the European Central Bank (ECB).


The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed slightly higher, up 0.1 percent at 1,378.59 points. Trading volumes had been thin with markets in Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark closed for ascension day and a number of other European countries celebrating the public holiday.

Investors continue to eye a Governing Council meeting at the ECB next week, with some analysts expecting President Mario Draghi to cut rates or introduce monetary stimulus measures.

U.S. stocks had opened slightly higher on Thursday, after gross domestic product (GDP) data revealed the economy contracted more than expected in the first quarter, but jobless claims fell more than hoped.

Read MoreThis chart may push Draghi to act next week


Retail shares fall

In stocks news, Kingfisher shares closed down around 5 percent on Thursday as first-quarter profit numbers failed to match its own expectations. However, the retail giant - which owns home improvement chain B&Q - posted a 20 percent surge in earnings and announced a special dividend for shareholders.

Energy company EDF shares closed down after a rating cut from Exane BNP Paribas to "neutral" from "outperform."

Meanwhile, shares in Numericable closed up nearly 3 percent following a "buy" recommendation from Citigroup.