LONDON (TheDeal) -- European equities investors felt the impact of a sharp selloff of government bonds, and took a "glass-half-empty" view of glimpses of progress on the Greek crisis, with stock indices trading sharply lower on Thursday.
After an inconclusive meeting yesterday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said a debt deal was "within sight" as he prepared for yet another meeting with euro-dignitaries.
Greece's international creditors have reportedly submitted a plan that would require Greece to run a primary budget -- revenues minus expenses excluding debt interest -- surplus of 1% this year, rising to 2% next year, 3% in 2017 and 3.5% in 2018. The creditors hope that a deal can be reached by June 11, said the Financial Times. A €305 million ($346.2 million) payment by Greece to the International Monetary Fund falls due on Friday.
Meanwhile, bond investors remained spooked by comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi yesterday that they'd just have to get used to increased volatility.
Euro-area indices posted the steepest losses, with the DAX in Frankfurt down 1.54% at 11,243.93, the CAC 40 in Paris down 2.00% at 4,933.91, and the Athens Composite index down 2.18%.
In London, the FTSE 100 fell 1.50% to 6,846.36.
The yield on the German 10-year bund was up 5 basis points at 0.93%.
Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY) rose in Frankfurt after The Wall Street Journal reported that Dish Network (DISH - Get Report) is close to a deal to merge with the Bonn telecom's majority-owned T-Mobile (TMUS - Get Report) of Bellvue, Wash. The Journal said the companies had already agreed to put the T-Mobile CEO at the helm of the new entity, while Dish founder Charlie Ergen would be chairman.
Deutsche Telekom last year rejected an offer from the business worth $15 billion from France's Iliad (ILIAF).
In Paris, Areva (ARVCF) rose sharply, while Electricité de France (ECIFY) fell, on news the French government had approved the rescue purchase by EDF of Areva's reactor business. Areva, which is 87% state-owned, made a loss of €4.8 billion last year because of cost overruns. In recent years, the company has felt the impact of a global disenchantment with nuclear power that set in after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.
Pets at Home (PHGPY) fell after posting its first set of full-year results since its IPO in March last year. The company, which sells products and offers vet services from large outlets on strip malls, said same-store sales rose 4.2% and EBITDA rose 9.6% to £121.3 million. Results were in line with expectations, though investors took profit.
The company also announced a new structure, which spits its retail operation from services like vet services and pet grooming, and put a new CEO in charge of each unit. It also said it was confident about the current fiscal year.
Mainland Chinese stocks ended an extremely volatile day mixed. The Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.76% at 4,947.10 after falling as much as 5.9% earlier in the day. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 0.38% at 27,551.89.
Alibaba Pictures tumbled 5.8% in Hong Kong after announcing plans to raise HK$12.2 billion ($1.6 billion) by selling new shares to finance acquisitions in the media sector.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 pushed out a 0.07% gain, closing at 20,488.19. The Topix rose 0.23% to 1,673.89.
Japanese e-commerce group Rakuten (RKUNF) closed down 6.2% after announcing plans to raise up to ¥188 billion ($1.5 billion) through the sale of new shares. The proceeds will mainly go towards paying down debt.