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European markets little changed; FTSE 100 hits new intraday record; Persimmon up by 7%

European bourses were little changed at close on Thursday after a choppy trading day with the U.K.'s FTSE breaking a new intraday record, trading above 7,200.

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IBEX 35
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The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up by 0.1 percent with sectors mixed.

Persimmon, the U.K.'s largest house-builder by market capitalization, was among the top of the European climbers, jumping more than 7 percent. It reported a full-year revenue of £3.14 billion ($3.86 billion), an 8 percent increase, after selling 599 more homes than in the previous year. Bellway, another U.K. housebuilder, was also among the top performers, which increased more than 3.7 percent by the close.

Insurance stocks ended lower after JPMorgan cut its grades for several companies in the sector, including RSA Insurance Group, which closed down by more than 0.3 percent.

Basic resources stocks edged higher on Thursday thanks to positive Chinese data. China's Caixin services purchasing managers' index (PMI) for December hit its highest reading since July 2015 at 53.4 compared to 53.1 in November, giving evidence of a stronger Chinese economy.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average continued lower as investors anxiously await what is proving to be an elusive move above and beyond the 20,000 threshold.

The retail sector is on the radar too, after contracting significantly during Wednesday's trading, with the release of the latest retail PMI figures in the euro zone. The new data showed producer prices up by 0.3 percent on the month and 0.1 percent on the year, giving further evidence that inflation is coming back. The sector ended over 0.5 percent lower on Thursday. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Amazon and Forever 21 are reportedly among those considering bidding for American Apparel.

Shares of Deutsche Bank were down 0.79 percent on Thursday after the German lender agreed to pay $95 million to resolve a lawsuit from the U.S. government accusing the bank of tax fraud.

Volkswagen will have to defend investor lawsuit in the U.S. related to the emissions scandal, a U.S. judge ruled, Reuters reported. Its shares closed up by 0.25 percent.

Btg, the healthcare firm, was ended up by more than 5.6 percent on Thursday after JPMorgan announced a more upbeat expectation on the value of the company's share price.

The newly merged Italian bank Banco BPM was once again among the best performers in Europe.


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Preliminary data showed British new car sales reaching a record high of 2.7 million units in 2016.

Also in the U.K., the British Chambers of Commerce said Thursday that the economy has kept its momentum in the last quarter of 2016 but inflation pressures have increased at a near 20-year high, Reuters reported.

Investors will be looking ahead to the U.S. on Friday when the first nonfarm payroll figure of 2017 is released.

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