- Ukraine tensions increase
- IMF raises global growth forecast
- UK industrial output rises
- Goldman lowers euro/dollar estimates
FTSE 100: -0.49%
CAC 40: -0.25%
FTSE MIB: -1.46%
IBEX 35: -1.19%
Stoxx 600: -0.33%
European stocks dropped as the fears over the Ukraine crisis grew after the nation sent forces into its eastern regions.
Ukraine launched a military operation against separatists that had seized government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv earlier this week.
The move prompted a warning from Russia that the use of force by Ukraine in the eastern regions could lead to a civil war.
The US has accused Russia of instigating the raids and said there is evidence that some protesters may be paid provocateurs.
IMF raises global growth forecast
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the expects global growth of 3.6% this year and 3.9% in 2015, driven by advanced economies such as the US.
In the World Economic Outlook, the IMF also painted a bright picture for Europe.
The IMF said it now expects growth in the euro area of 1.2% in 2014 and 1.5% in 2015, up from a January estimate of 1% and 1.4%, respectively.
Goldman lowers euro/dollar forecast
Goldman Sachs has lowered its forecast for the euro/dollar to $1.38, $1.34, $1.30 for three, six and 12 months' time, respectively, from a previous estimate of $1.38, $1.40, $1.40.
The bank based its estimate on the fact that it sees no urgency from the European Central Bank (ECB) to ease monetary policy in the near term. Goldman also noted that US data is yet to "rebound convincingly".
The euro rose 0.41% to $1.3799.
In other economic news, UK industrial production grew by 0.9% on the month in February and by 2.7% year-on-year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The consensus estimate had been for a rise of 0.3% month-on-month and 2.2% year-on-year.
Cie. de Saint-Gobain, Suedzucker
Cie. de Saint-Gobain dropped after Groupama sold its entire 1.8% stake in Europe's biggest supplier of building materials for €450m.
Suedzucker declined as the maker of sugar, starch and bakery additives projected full-year revenue of about €7bn, below analysts' estimates of €7.5bn.
Nokia Oyj gained after receiving China's approval for the sale of its handsets business to Microsoft Corp.
Sports Direct International slid after the Financial Times reported that founder Mike Ashley was selling a 4% stake.
Resolution slipped as Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch unit downgraded the insurance-buyout company to 'underperform' from 'neutral'.
Brent crude futures advanced $0.395 to $106.240 per barrel, according to the ICE.