European stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday as investors focused on new economic data from Germany and increased expectations of a U.S. rate hike next month.
The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 closed 0.23 percent higher in subdued trading due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.. Healthcare stocks were the best performers at the start of the session, climbing 0.8 percent. Utilities and telecom stocks were moving south.
Markets in the U.S. were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The German company Thyssenkrupp reported a smaller-than-expected increase in operating profit Thursday and highlighted more cost cutting. Its shares were off 0.23 percent.
Meanwhile, the British-Australian Rio Tinto announced Thursday plans to raise its cash flow by $5 billion over the next five years. The firm wants to expand on iron ore, copper and bauxite. Its London-listed shares were up 0.17 percent.
Data released Wednesday showed new manufacturing orders and consumer sentiment increasing in the U.S. in the month of October, giving further reasons for a rate hike next month, when the Federal Reserve meets.
Back in Europe, the German Ifo Institute said Thursday that confidence in the largest euro economy remains "good" despite the election of Donald Trump. The Ifo Business Climate Index stood at 110.4 points in November, unchanged from the previous month but below forecasts.
Elsewhere, public sector workers are staging a 24- hour strike in Greece against austerity measures.
Oil prices were flat during Thursday trading with investors uncertain over whether OPEC countries will agree on a production cut when they meet next week.