European shares finished the session down on Thursday after having earlier been boosted by unexpected news of a British shopping spree last month with UK retail sales soaring in May by 3.5%.
Among the negative influences – Citigroup’s chief financial officer warning of more subprime mortgage-related write-downs at the bank and disappointing manufacturing figures from the US.
Banks were big losers. HBOS fell 7% as it warning of a 1.25 billion euro writedown in its first half as a fall in house prices put pressure on bad debts.
Technology stocks fell sharply amid rumours of a profit warning at semiconductor equipment maker ASML.