Europe Markets

European shares close narrowly higher

European shares close narrowly higher

European shares closed around the flatline on Thursday, paring earlier gains generated after euro zone industrial production numbers met analysts' estimates. Production showed its biggest rise since last November.

The pan-European FTEurofirst 300 closed provisionally 0.1 percent lower at 1,392.46 points. The British benchmark FTSE 100 index and the French benchmark Cac 40 ended around 0.1 percent higher, while the German Dax was unofficially 0.1 percent lower.

Bourses in Lisbon, Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam had opened 30 minutes late, with operator Euronext blaming a technical glitch.

Read MoreEuronext trading start delayed due to glitch

The basic resources sector was the worst performer in Europe, with shares in Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton closing lower. This came after U.K.-listed Anglo American was cut to "underweight" from "equal weight" by Morgan Stanley.

In other stocks news, Mulberry shares suffered after full-year figures showed turning the luxury brand around was proving a slow and drawn-out process.

Shares of Aer Lingus closed down around 3.2 percent after the airline announced an expected hit to profits, due to a strike threat.

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower after retail sales figures disappointed. Sales rose less than expected in May, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

Iraq concerns

Nervousness in equity markets returned on Thursday, with a new focus on the escalating violence in Iraq. Al Qaeda-linked groups have seized control of two key cities, Mosul and Tikrit, in the past two days.

Read MoreOil plays catch-up,spikes on growing Iraq risks

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