Basic resources was the worst-performing sector in afternoon deals as mining stocks lagged. Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Anglo American were all down more than 2.5 percent.
Financial services eked out sector gains, however looking at its stocks, Provident Financial fell 2.5 percent, after RBC cut its price target to 775 pence from 2650 pence.
However, it was supermarket WM Morrison that sat at the bottom of the European benchmark in afternoon deals, off over 6 percent, despite reporting a 40 percent rise in profits for the first half of the year.
Even with the sharp fall in the two British retailers, that didn’t stop retail from posting gains as a sector. British retailer Next soared almost 11 percent after upgrading its full-year sales and profits forecast. The company now predicts full-year profits of between £687 million and £747 million, compared with its previous estimate of £680 million and £740 million.
The oil and gas sector also moved into positive territory, buoyed by an announcement from the International Energy Agency Wednesday, saying that global demand is catching up with supply. Brent traded at $55.62 Thursday, while WTI was at $49.91.