European equities fell Thursday as investors digested gloomy eurozone data showing anaemic economic growth for the first quarter of the year.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index slid 0.02 percent to 6,877.18 points in early afternoon deals, despite news of a £3.7-billion ($6.2-billion, 4.5-billion-euro) merger of retail giants Carphone Warehouse and Dixons.Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.06 percent to 9,748.69 points, with losses capped by impressive German growth, while in Paris the CAC 40 lost 0.29 percent compared with Wednesday's closing values to 4,488.13 points.
In foreign exchange activity, the European single currency sank to $1.3651 -- the lowest level since February 27. It later stood at $1.3659, down from $1.3713 late in New York on Wednesday.
- Germany economy outperforms eurozone -
Gross domestic product across the 18-nation eurozone grew by just 0.2 percent in the three months to March, the Eurostat data agency revealed, dashing market expectations for 0.4-percent expansion.
However, the German economy sprinted ahead, seeing growth double to 0.8 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months, beating market forecasts.
"GDP figures largely disappointed, with only the German release providing any upside to the data," said Alpari trader Craig Erlam.
"That’s pretty much in line with what we’ve become accustomed to, a two tier eurozone with Germany the engine behind any growth."
In a separate data release, Eurostat confirmed that eurozone inflation rose to 0.7 percent in April.
That was up from the 0.5 percent reported in March, but still a long way from the European Central Bank's 2.0-percent target.
Meanwhile, the euro slid to 81.64 pence from 81.78 pence on Wednesday, while the British pound fell to $1.6752 from $1.6769.
The price of gold declined to $1,303.14 an ounce on the London Bullion Market from $1,305.25 on Wednesday.
- Asian equities mixed -
Asian markets were mixed Thursday, with a stronger yen and a slump in Sony shares pushing Tokyo's Nikkei lower despite data showing the Japanese economy accelerated in the first quarter.
Wall Street provided a negative lead, with the main indexes losing ground in an end to a five-day rally that saw the Dow and S&P 500 notch up fresh records.
Tokyo slipped 0.75 percent, or 107.55 points, to finish at 14,298.21, Sydney added 0.26 percent, or 14.3 points, to 5510.8 and Seoul was flat, edging down 0.63 points to 2,010.20.
Japan's Cabinet Office said Thursday the world's number-three economy grew 1.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in January-March, sharply higher than the previous three months thanks to a rush by shoppers to beat an April 1 sales tax hike.
That compares with revised growth of 0.1 percent in October-December and is much better than the 1.1 percent forecast by market-watchers.