European shares turned positive on Thursday after U.S. data showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 512,000 in the week to Oct. 31, the lowest since early January.

At 1343 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was up 0.1 percent at 985.90 points after falling to a low of 969.74 points earlier in the session.

Retailers were among the top gainers, with Ahold (AHLN.AS), Tesco (TSCO.L) and J Sainsbury (SBRY.L) up 1 to 4.7 percent.