European equities closed sharply lower on Thursday, extending the previous day's retreat, with geopolitics once again worrying markets.
Oil prices surged as much as 5 percent, while stocks fell, on the news that Saudi Arabia had launched a military operation in neighboring Yemen, where rebels have overthrow the government.
"A cacophony of bearish news in the form of weak U.S. data, 'Grexit' jitters and an escalation of fighting in Yemen all conspired to bring markets down yesterday and there is no let-up in the bearish sentiment this morning," Marius Paun and Jonathan Sudaria of Capital Spreads said in a research note on Thursday.
The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index ended around 0.9 percent lower. The FTSE 100 closed down provisionally 1.4 percent, while the German DAX was down 0.2 percent and the French CAC down 0.3 percent.