European shares fell on Thursday as mixed readings of business growth across major economies and uncertainty over the US interest rate outlook made investors nervous, while a jump in the pound dented London stocks.
The latest data showed business growth in the euro zone recovering marginally in August but factory activity shrinking in both Japan and the United States, raising questions about the health of the global economy.
Adding to the dour mood, Germany’s central bank said it did not see the need for fiscal stimulus at this time, even though it expected the economy to shrink again this quarter.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.4% lower, with euro zone equities down 0.6%.
London’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 lagged the broader markets as the pound jumped after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a solution to the Irish border issue could be found before the October 31 deadline for Britain to leave the European Union.