European stocks finished just below the flat line on Thursday, as heightened expectations of faster interest rate hikes in the U.S. weighed down risk appetite globally.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.08 percent, with major bourses and sectors pointing in different directions.
The U.K. FTSE 100 was the worst performing major index, dropping 0.4 percent. This was an improvement on trade earlier in the afternoon, when it was more than one percent lower. The French CAC and German DAX were both close to the flat line.
Utilities outperformed by rising 1.45 percent. Centrica, which owns British Gas, topped the sector by gaining 7.5 percent. After announcing a decline in operating profit, it announced plans to cut 4,000 jobs in an attempt to save on costs.
Household goods was the worst performing sector, closing down 0.72 percent. Earlier in the afternoon it had been trading over 1.3 percent lower.
The basic resources sector bounced back in afternoon trade, closing just 0.04 percent in the negative territory.
Mining company Anglo American's stock had dropped to the bottom of the sector earlier after reporting its latest figures, a 45 percent growth in annual earnings last year as it continued to recover from the commodity markets crash in 2015 and 2016. Despite shares trading more than 2.5 percent lower at lunchtime, Anglo American's stock eventually pared its losses, closing 0.19 percent higher.
Barclays posted weaker-than-expected earnings. A below-forecast 10 percent growth in annual profit for 2017 was hit, in part, by the U.S. tax overhaul and a weaker dollar. However, its shares closed up 4.4 percent.
Denmark's Genmab jumped to the top of the benchmark after the company reassured investors about the sales growth of its blood cancer drug Darzalex. Shares of Europe's biggest biotechnology company closed 17.7 percent higher.