European shares finished the day slightly down with the biggest bourses – London, Frankfurt and Paris – all sharply lower.
Among the influences, disappointing data which showed weekly first time claims for jobless benefits in the US fell but not by as much as economists has hoped and the number of Americans collecting long-term unemployment benefits rose. However the latest figures showed an improvement in the US service sector and retail sales. In Europe banks were among top performers and mining companies gained in value helped by Alcoa increasing its forecast for global aluminium consumption. Drugmakers were the biggest losers. Energy shares also lost value. Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest spirits group, fell 4.5 percent after it predicted a tough year. The euro held firm after the European Central Bank left interest rates at record lows as expected.