LONDON (TheDeal) -- Greece has continued to dominate thinking on European stocks on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, a surprise 0.1 percentage point rate cut and increased bond-buying program by the Swedish central bank were designed to weaken the Swedish krona against the euro and encourage an upturn in inflation.
European markets have been trading without direction, as investors try to assess the mixed messages coming out of Athens. On the one hand the Greek government says it wants to stay in the euro and insists it will negotiate with its creditors; on the other hand it's been urging voters to say no to creditors' demands for austerity measures in Sunday's referendum. Thursday morning, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a Bloomberg interview that Greece was desperate to stay in the euro, but he would resign immediately if the people voted yes to the austerity measures in the weekend's referendum.
In London, the FTSE 100 was flat at 6,608.75, while in Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.11% at 4,877.59. In Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.08% at 11,171.46. In Stockholm the OMX Bechmark index was down 0.63% at 841.49.
In Sweden, Electrolux (ELUXY) tumbled over 10% to Skr236.10 after the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it plans to sue to block the vacuum cleaner, stove and fridge maker's $3.3 billion takeover of General Electric's (GE) - Get Report appliance business. The DoJ argues the combination would combine two of the top three makers of stoves, cooktops and ovens.
Spanish flight booking technology company Amadeus IT Holding (AMADF) rose 2.4% to €37.02 on its deal to buy Accenture's (ACN) - Get Report Navitaire unit for $830 million, in a move to provide services to low-cost airlines. At present, Amadeus is more focused on the full-service carrier sector.
In London, the biggest FTSE 100 riser was Dixons Carphone (DSITF) , the electronic goods and cellphone retailer. Dixons was up 3.5% at 474.9 pence after announcing an agreement with U.S. cellphone operator Sprint (S) - Get Report to manage what it described as a "significant" number of Sprint-branded retail stores in the U.S. Dixons Carphone will start with just 20 stores, but if the venture proves successful, it will invest up to $32 million for a 50% interest in a joint venture with Sprint and the roll-out of up to 500 stores.
After a period of anxious clucking, bicycles and car accessories retailer Halfords (HLFDF) has appointed the CFO of Swedish chicken company Scandi Standard, Johnny Mason, to take on the same role at Halfords. Halfords' previous CFO Andrew Findley recently flew off to budget airline EasyJet (EJTTF) . Nevertheless, Halfords was down 0.47% at 534 pence.
In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite continued its slide to close down 3.48% at 3,912.77, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was up 0.12% at 26,282.32. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.95% at 20,552.50.