Europe's main stock markets were mixed but mostly stronger on Thursday while the euro eased against the dollar as traders digested the Bank of England's keeping its main interest rate unchanged, and booked profits after several days of gains.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) index of top companies gained 0.13 percent to 6,592.18 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 (Xetra: ^GDAXI - news) added 0.17 percent to 8,263.47 points while in Paris the CAC 40 (Paris: ^FCHI - news) slid by 0.85 percent in value to 3,922.70 points.
Dealers said Paris fell heavily on technical reasons caused by the payment of dividends to shareholders by a number of companies.
"Following the establishment of a five-and-a-half year high yesterday mainly on the back of an emboldened mining sector, the FTSE 100 is taking a breather today with investors' gaze turning to the Bank of England rate decision," said Brenda Kelly, senior market strategist at traders IG (LSE: IGG.L - news) .
The BoE kept its main lending rate at the record-low level of 0.50 percent, holding back from cutting borrowing costs to help spur growth.
The central bank decided not to mirror central banks that have cut borrowing costs in the past week, and also opted against pumping out more new stimulus cash to boost economic growth.
In New York, US stocks struggled for direction in early trading after recent record-setting gains, despite a favourable report on jobless claims.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was essentially unchanged at 15,103.13 points, while the broad-based S&P 500 slipped by 0.20 percent to 1,629.46 and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was also flat at 3,413.28.
Back in Europe, official data revealed on Thursday that unemployment in eurozone member Greece climbed to 27 percent of the workforce in February from 26.7 percent a month earlier.
The highest rate was registered for youths aged 15-24, at 64.2 percent.
Europe's major stock markets had posted solid gains on Wednesday, with Frankfurt's main index hitting another record high in the wake of recent robust German industrial data.
"With indices sitting on such lofty levels, it's natural investors pause and book profits but that has not changed the overall improved risk-tone we have seen in markets since the ECB cut interest rates last week," said Ishaq Siddiqi, analyst at ETX Capital.
"An easing recession in the eurozone, with German economic fundamentals indicating an improvement has soothed fears the region's powerhouse's economy has stalled," he added.
Asian equities closed mostly lower on Thursday as dealers took profits after recent impressive gains, but higher than expected inflation figures out of China had little effect on the markets.
"It's more likely the market fell on profit-taking after gains in previous sessions," Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.
"Inflation was only slightly higher than expected, so it had limited impact on the market."
In foreign exchange deals, the European single currency dipped to $1.3128 from $1.3156 late on Wednesday in New York. Sterling rallied against the dollar and euro after positive British manufacturing data.
On the London Bullion Market, gold edged up to $1,469.50 an ounce from $1,468 Wednesday.