European stocks pulled back on Thursday from a record high as investors kept an eye on Greece’s debt situation and sifted through corporate financial updates.
The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.77% shed 0.2% to 413.54, with only the consumer-goods and oil and gas SXEP, -0.22% sectors moving higher.
On Wednesday, the Stoxx 600 on Wednesday, the pan-European benchmark closed at a record high of 414.06, following an upbeat assessment of the European Central Bank’s asset-purchase program by central-bank chief Mario Draghi.
Investors kept a wary eye on Greece as the country’s cash crunch intensified, with a debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund and a large wage and pension bill both due at the beginning of May. On Thursday, the Financial Times reported that Greek officials had informally approached the IMF for a delay to repayment, but were rebuffed.
The yield on two-year Greek debt climbed 2.9 percentage points to 25.9%, while the yield on 10-year debt rose 1 percentage point to 12.6%.
Greece’s Athex Composite GD, +1.13% lost 0.2% to 742.58. Late Wednesday, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cut the country’s long-term credit rating to CCC-plus from B-minus, and data released the same day showed Greece fell short of its 2014 budget target. Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is due to meet President Barack Obama later Thursday.
On the Stoxx 600, Diageo PLC DGE, -3.58% DEO, -2.88% shares were among Thurday’s biggest decliners. Shares fell 2% after the Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky maker said organic net sales fell 0.3% in the nine months ended March 31.
But Unilever PLC ULVR, +2.79% shares shone, rising 4.6% after the company, whose products include Dove soap and Magnum ice cream, said first-quarter underlying sales grew 2.8%, outstripping expectations of a 2.1% increase from a Thomson Reuters projection.
On the country indexes, Germany’s DAX 30 DAX, -1.86% fell 0.8% to 12,136.56 and France’s CAC 40 PX1, -0.63% lost 0.4% to 5,235.96. The U.K..’s FTSE 100 UKX, -0.53% dropped 0.2% to 7,081.54, also pulling back from a record closing high set on Wednesday.