LONDON (TheDeal) -- Mainland European stock indices declined on Thursday after disappointing eurozone purchasing managers' data cast doubt about the strength of the region's recovery.
The first glimpse of Markit Economics's indices for the month of April showed the eurozone indices for both the manufacturing and services sector unexpectedly fell, with a poor showing from the main economies of Germany and France. The news stoked concern that a recently initiated asset purchasing program by the European Central Bank may not be enough shore up eurozone growth.
Outside the eurozone, in the U.K., retail sales fell unexpectedly in March, tempering fears stoked by Bank of England minutes out yesterday that a rate rise may come sooner rather than later.
In London, the FTSE 100 edged up 0.11% to 7, 036.04. In Frankfurt, the DAX dropped 0.77% to 11,776.25. And in Paris, the CAC 40 fell back 0.54% to 5,183.09.
Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson (ERIC - Get Report) fell as much as 10% in Stockholm after announcing weaker-than-expected first-quarter results as North American wireless broadband providers curtailed spending. Net profit fell 14% to 1.5 billion Swedish kronor ($173 million).
In London, gaming company William Hill (WIMHF) dropped sharply after announcing a 19% decline in first-quarter operating profit, with earnings eroded by two forms of taxation and a bad week in January when it sustained the highest-ever losses on sports bets.
U.K. advertising giant WPP (WPPGY) lost ground after warning in a first-quarter bulletin that companies were tightening their purse strings, even though it said its own revenue and profit growth had exceeded its expectations.
Anglo America (AAUKY) edged lower after cutting full-year diamond production guidance in a first-quarter output report.
In Paris, 3D design software maker Dassault Systemes (DASTY) rose after reporting a 30% increase in first-quarter operating profit thanks to favorable currency movements.
In Frankfurt, construction and infrastructure services company Bilfinger (BFLBY) slumped as much as 15% and was down close to 7% by late morning after announcing its fifth profit warning in less than a year, which it pinned on weakness on operations serving energy sector clients, including in the U.S.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 0.27% at 20,187.65, slightly off a 15-year high. The Topix gained 0.19% to 1,624.87.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng slipped 0.38% to close at 27,827.70. Most mainland Chinese indices edged higher as investors took a decline in April to a 12-month low of the Markit Economics/HSBC Holdings purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector in stride.
Notable movers in Asia Pacific included Fortescue Metals, which closed up 9.7% in Sydney after finally pulling off a U.S. refinancing that it had struggled with. It's raised $2.3 billion in high-yield debt.