European stocks slide

European stock markets slid on Thursday following a weak performance by Wall Street overnight, which pushed down also on Asian share prices, analysts said.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares dropped 0.90 percent to stand at 6,561.16 points in midday deals and despite official data showing that Britain was improving on its economic recovery.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.91 percent to 8,302.60 points, with investors shrugging off news of another rise in Germany business confidence.

The CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.68 percent to 3,935.77 points compared with Wednesday's close.

"It might be unfair to blame the current negativity on Wall Street, but the longer US markets dithered ahead of new highs the greater the likelihood that the bears would take the chance to push major indices lower," said Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at traders IG.

The sell-off was fuelled by US housing data that raised concerns about the Federal Reserve's stimulus programme, analysts said.

The euro eased to $1.3198 from $1.3199 in New York late on Wednesday and the dollar fell to 99.74 yen from 100.26 yen. Sterling was mixed versus the greenback and European single currency.

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold slid to $1,315.66 an ounce from $1,335 on Wednesday.

The main data out of Europe on Thursday revealed that Britain's economic recovery accelerated in the second quarter.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.6 percent in the three months to the end of June compared with an output gain of 0.3 percent in the first three months of the year, the Office for National Statistics said.

This was the first time since 2011 that Britain had achieved back-to-back quarterly increases.

Meanwhile all main sectors of the economy -- agriculture, construction, industrial production and services -- expanded together for the first time for almost three years.

"UK GDP estimates for Q2 arrived in line with market expectations this morning, inspiring limited reaction from equity traders preoccupied with a mixed bag of earnings announcements," said Matt Basi, head of UK Sales trading at CMC Markets.

The telecoms sector was meanwhile in focus as Orange and BT both reported falling profits.

Shares in French telecom group Orange shed 4.65 percent to 7.39 euros after it said that net profit had fallen by 38 percent to 1.2 billion euros ($1.58 billion) in the first half of the year.

In London, British telecoms company BT slid 2.34 percent to 334 pence.

BT, which recently entered the market for the broadcasting of live television sport, announced on Thursday a drop in quarterly profits.

It said that profit before tax dropped 16 percent to £449 million ($690 million, 522 million euros) in the its first quarter, or three months to June 30, compared with the outcome a year earlier.