LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks struggled to gain momentum on Thursday after disappointing purchasing managers' data from China to Europe offset dovish minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting.
In the eurozone, Markit Economics' purchasing managers' indices for May came in below expectations, with the composite PMI index declining to a three-month low of 53.4 but holding well above the 50 floor that separates economic expansion from contraction. German figures disappointed, while French data came in ahead of expectations.
In the U.K., the Office for National Statistics figures showed U.K. retail sales, excluding petrol, increased 1.2% in April by volume, compared with a 0.2% rise the month before. The April rise was much bigger than a consensus forecast for growth of 0.3%.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.02% at 7,005.63. In Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.33% at 11,809.27 and in Paris, the CAC 40 fell 0.36% to 5,115.06.
The Athens Composite Index was up 0.09% at 841.17 as European leaders prepare to meet in Latvian capital Riga for a discussion which may generate progress on a resolution to Greece's debt crisis.
In London, Asia Resource Minerals was down about 10% after founder and shareholder Nat Rothschild and a bid partner withdrew an indicative takeover offer for the cash-strapped coal producer.
Maternity goods retailer Mothercare (MHCRF) rose sharply after analysts, including Peel Hunt, upgraded fiscal 2016 profit forecasts after the company's full-year results showed same-store sales in its core U.K. market are growing again.