European stocks pared losses on Thursday as upbeat eurozone business growth data and strong U.S. jobs data lifted sentiment on a dull day of trading, while rating actions and ex-dividend trading knocked UK shares lower. According to Reuters, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.1 per cent after falling as much as 0.8 e per cent earlier in the session.
The automobiles & auto parts and healthcare sectors gained, while miners fell the most. A host of British companies, including National Grid and Kingfisher, traded without entitlement for dividend, pulling UK’s FTSE 100 0.6 per cent lower.
After a record expansion in euro zone factory activity, IHS Markit’s final reading showed the bloc’s dominant service sector sprang back into life last month as restrictions eased. An index covering the service industry soared to a near three-year high of 55.2 from 50.5, just beating the 55.1 flash estimate. “The PMIs are consistent with the euro-zone’s economic recovery gathering pace in May,” said Jack Allen-Reynolds, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics. “Price pressures in the manufacturing sector are intensifying, but we still think that higher inflation will be temporary.”