Investors have been keeping an eye on the U.S. dollar which has been showing signs of weakness this week as the prospect of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve is pushed back. Despite this usually supporting the energy and basic resources sectors, both were trading sharply lower throughout Thursday's session.
Oil prices fell into the red on Thursday, as traders took profits following a few positive sessions. Brent and U.S. crude were both off 1 percent or more each at Europe's close, trading at $52.03 and $50.70 respectively. In stocks, Petrofac led the losses, off 5.1 percent, after Citigroup cut its price target for the stock. The oil price decline added pressure to U.S. stocks, which traded lower.
Basic Resources was Europe's worst-performing sector, closing down 2.85 percent as copper prices sharply declined. UK-listed miner Glencore saw declines of more than 5 percent after it agreed to sell a 9.99 percent stake in its agricultural business to British Columbia Investment Corp for $624.9 million. And Antofagasta tanked 6.3 percent after Canaccord Genuity cut its price target for the stock.