European stock markets closed lower on Thursday. London's FTSE 100 index was off 39.40 points, or 0.88%, to 4,424.70, even though the UK June Manufacturing PMI fell to 54.8 from a revised 55.7. However, the output component rose to a six-month high 57.5 from 57.2. Sainsbury was lower after an announcement that CEO Sir Peter Davis is stepping down as CEO, to be replaced by Philip Hampton. Marks & Spencer was off after Philip Green denied reports that he may abandon the battle to gain control of the retailing company.
Germany's DAX index eased 17.71 points, or 0.44%, to 4,035.02 as German Retail Sales fell 1.7% in May, the first decline in 3 months. Volkswagen was lower after it said sales in China were up but profits were thin. ThyssenKrupp was higher after a report that the company was considering raising prices for its electrical steel. HypoVereinsbank was up after the Financial Times said the company has had exploratory talks with 4 European banks.
In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 16.79 points, or 0.45%, to 3,716.20 as French PMI rose to 55.8 in June from 55.5 in May. France Telecom, Atos and Cap Gemini were higher after J.P. Morgan upgraded its opinion on the telecom sector. Business Objects is the subject of takeover speculation and Societe Generale rates it top pick in the sector. Scor was higher on broker upgrades and is to present its 3-year restructuring plan in early autumn, according to Le Figaro.
Asian markets finished mixed on Wednesday. In Japan, the Nikkei index added 37.14 points, or 0.31%, to close at 11,896.01.
In Hong Kong, markets were closed on Thursday.