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Europe ends higher, energy stocks under pressure

European shares closed higher on Thursday, even as a further fall in oil prices led to heavy selling in the energy sector.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed 0.3 percent higher, after regaining some ground following positive U.S. jobs data.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 unofficially ended 0.5 percent higher, as did Germany's DAX, while French stocks closed around 0.3 percent higher.

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FTSE
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IBEX 35
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The price of Brent crude broke back below the $80 level, which saw heavily weighted oil majors close in negative territory. Shell fell over 2 percent, while BP shares sank around 0.9 percent, Total also posted a similar fall.

Read MoreCrude oil inventories drop by 1.7M barrels

U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 and Dow hitting record highs after data showed jobless claims holding at a 14-year low.

Read MoreJobless claims rise but stay near 14-year low

A closely watched ECB survey of economists was also released Thursday. It showed that 61 experts polled by the bank had downgraded their forecasts for both inflation and growth in the euro zone. The economists and academics expect inflation to come in at 1 percent in 2015—down from earlier projections of 1.2 percent—and 1.4 percent in 2016.

Ukraine in focus

Ukraine is to redeploy troops to the east of the country, on fears that pro-Russian separatists will launch a new offensive.

Samantha Power, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, has accused Russia of pursuing war in the region. There have been reports of Russian troops and military hardware entering the country in recent days, but Moscow has continued to deny involvement.

Read MoreUkraine deploys troops, fears new rebel offensive

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