(Reuters) – European shares ended higher on Thursday as short covering kicked in ahead of a long Easter weekend and strong quarterly results including those from Unilever and Nestle tempered data showing euro zone businesses unexpectedly slowed this month.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose for a seventh straight session, its best winning streak since early February with Germany’s DAX closing at six-month highs, while London’s FTSE 100 fell, dragged by healthcare stocks.

Growth worries gripped equity markets in the early hours after surveys showed businesses across the euro zone stumbled into the second quarter as demand remained weak despite more modest price rises.

The data came on the heels of the German government lowering its forecast for 2019 economic growth on Wednesday, which was