European Markets Contract as Investor Fears Over Greece Reignite

European markets closed lower on Thursday after concerns regarding Greece's ability to negotiate a new bailout deal were fueled by a report published by a UK newspaper.

An article published by the Financial Times on Thursday claimed that Greek officials had made an informal approach to the International Monetary Fund in private earlier this month to delay repayments of loans.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde meanwhile said she would not support a delay on Greek debt repayment.

The future of the indebted country's position within the Eurozone is hanging in the balance as the country comes perilously close to running out of money.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank published its second quarter 2015 Survey of Professional Forecasters which showed that inflation forecasts had been revised down for 2015, owing to oil prices , but were up for 2016 and 2017 supported by monetary policy measures and exchange rate developments.

Longer term inflation expectations for 2019 were at 1.8% while real gross domestic product growth expectations were revised up for the short-to-medium term and unemployment rate forecasts were revised down over all the horizons.

In company news, shares in beverage maker Diageo closed down 2.7% in London after the company issued an interim statement for the nine months ended 31 March 2015. In the period, net sales declined 0.3% on an organic basis and were down 0.7% in the quarter, with volume down 1.7% in the nine month period and 0.8% in the quarter.

The company said that net sales grew 4.6% in the nine month period reported while acquisitions, principally United Spirits Limited, contributed £700 million partially offset by an adverse impact of currency movements of £298 million and a reduction of £28 million due to disposals.

Unilever, a supplier consumer goods closed higher 2.4% in Amsterdam after announcing its results for the first quarter of 2015. Turnover increased 12.3% to EUR 12.8 billion ($13.74 billion) including a positive currency impact of 10.6%. Underlying sales growth stood at 2.8% with emerging markets up 5.4%. Underlying volume growth was at 0.9% and pricing was up 1.9%

The FTSE 100 slipped 0.51%, the DAX shed 1.90% and the CAC-40 closed lower 0.57%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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