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 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.
U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, with the and Dow hitting record highs after data showed jobless claims holding at a 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.
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