[LONDON] European shares lost ground on Thursday as a pick-up in bond yields weighed on utility stocks, whose large levels of debt make them particularly sensitive to credit market jitters.
German 10-year Bund yields rose to 2015 highs on Thursday, extending a rise that had begun on Wednesday after Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, said the ECB saw no reason to adjust its monetary policy stance despite recent volatility in the credit market.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.6 per cent, while Germany's DAX weakened by 0.5 per cent.
Utility stocks were among the worst performers on the FTSEurofirst. Spain's Gas Natural fell 1.7 per cent while rival Red Electrica declined by 1.6 per cent, with Red Electrica also impacted by a downgrade from UBS.
However, Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta outperformed to rise 1.8 per cent after Reuters reported that German company BASF was considering a bid for Syngenta.