Late Thursday afternoon saw European shares lose ground as data from America depressed sentiment.

Miners and energy stocks felt the heat the most, and metals led a downward trend in commodity prices. The principal culprit was a surprise contraction in America’s services sector in November. In company news Heineken, the world’s number three brewer gained over three percent on a trader’s “outperform” recommendation. Germany’s top European engineer Siemens dropped nearly six percent after reporting its first quarterly loss in a year. Speculation France’s biggest insurer Axa may be preparing a bid drove Irish Life and Permanent, Ireland’s biggest mortgage lender, over six percent higher.