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Europe closes up despite Germany rejecting Greek plan

European markets managed to hold on to their modest gains Thursday in spite of the news that Germany had rejected Greece's request for an extension to its loan agreement with its creditors.

Greek loan extension

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The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index closed marginally higher after starting the session in negative territory.

Greece approached its fellow euro countries Thursday with a request to prolong its "master financial assistance facility agreement" -- its loan package -- with proposals and pledges to enter a new set of negotiations over its austerity package.

Greece requests loan extension from creditors

Greece's stock market was up 1.1 percent on the news and the shares managed to hold onto their slim gains despite Germany immediately rejecting the proposal.

On Wall Street, stocks were in positive territory but were subdued by concerns about a large oil supply glut and Germany's rejection of the Greece plan.

Oil falls

Brent crude and WTI both fell on Thursday morning, with U.S. inventories data due out later expected to hit record highs. This weighed heavily on oil stocks which have been under pressure for the last few months. Genel Energy, Tullow Oil and Premier Oil all saw heavy losses in the morning session.

In Asia, where much of the continent is on holiday to celebrate Lunar New Year, Japan's Nikkei climbed to its highest level since 2000 after better-than-expected Japanese export figures.

Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve minutes also moved markets, as they showed that U.S. policymakers were still concerned about raising interest rates too soon. This lowered expectations of an imminent interest rate hike, sending the dollar lower.

In Europe, the European Central Bank will make its minutes from last month's meeting public for the first time, which should give some insight into the level of resistance among the governing council members to the new quantitative easing program.

Centrica shares fall

In stocks news, Centrica shares tanked 8.5 percent after it announced cuts to its investment and exploration budget due to weaker energy prices.

French IT firm Capgemini rose to the top of benchmarks, up 5 percent, after reporting higher net profit in its last period helped by its North American operations.

Dutch jobs company Randstad also rose, climbing 7 percent, after posting a 26 percent rise in fourth-quarter core earnings.