LONDON (TheDeal) -- European markets moved lower on Thursday after an inconclusive meeting late yesterday between Greek officials and its international creditors stoked further worries about a Greek debt fault and eurozone exit.
As talks resumed today, a report leaked to the Financial Times shows creditors are still demanding tough new rules governing pensions, which Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has fiercely resisted. Greece must strike a deal by next Tuesday, when its bailout funding expires and when a €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) payment falls due to the International Monetary Fund.
Meanwhile as the possibility of a Grexit draws closer, U.K. PM David Cameron will launch his campaign to seek new European Union membership terms and avoid a "Brexit" at a meeting of European leaders in Brussels later today.
In Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.25% at 11,442.44. In Paris, the CAC 40 slipped 0.37% to 5,026.51. In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.06% at 6,840.59. In Athens, the benchmark index was down 0.44%.
Vivendi (VIVHY) was down more than 3% in Paris after it announced it had lifted its stake in Telecom Italia (TI) to 14.9%, having received the first block of shares when it sold its Brazilian GVT business. The French media group recently exited telecoms but maintains the Telecom Italia investment will help it sell content to its southern neighbor. In Milan, Telecom Italia shares edged marginally lower.
In London, Netcall, which calls itself a customer-engagement services provider, posted low-teens gains after announcing it's in talks about an offer worth about £87.6 million ($137 million ) from Eckoh. The bidder has a July 23 deadline to announce a firm plan to make an offer or withdraw. Its shares also rose.
Scottish oilfield services company John Wood moved down in London after a first-half trading update in which it said profit would be down on the year before because of "challenging conditions in oil and gas market." It maintained its full -year forecast, said cost cuts are delivering savings ahead of target and said it plans to increase the dividend by a double-digit percentage from 2015 in the medium term.
Photo booths operator Photo-Me International fell after posting its first gain in full-year sales in five years, when stripping out currency movements, but warned that the rise in the pound against the euro and yen may hurt its business.
Another company to report currency woes was Hennes & Mauritz (HNNMY) , which fell more than 2% in Stockholm as second-quarter profit and gross margin figures fell short of forecasts. The company warned that the stronger dollar will boost its costs.
Asian indices ended the day largely in the red amid nervousness about Greece. Increasingly volatile mainland Chinese indices led the decliners.
The Shanghai Composite tumbled 3.46% to 4,527.78. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 0.95% to 27,145.75.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.46% at 20,771.40 and the Topix fell 0.53% to 1,670.91.
In Sydney, Australian law firm Slater & Gordon, a personal accident and class action specialist, fell almost 18% after the U.K.'s Quindell (QUPPF) , from whom it has just bought a professional services business for £637 million ($1 billion) said it was the target of a Financial Conduct Authority accounting probe and that it had launched an internal inquiry into past transactions and acquisitions.
Australian mining machinery parts maker Bradken's shares were suspended amid reports that Champ Private Equity will inject cash to provide for an emergency debt refinancing.