European shares closed slightly lower after a choppy trading session.
Weaker financial and mining stocks outweighed drugmakers and energy companies which gained. Banks were among biggest decliners. Barclays was down 6.5 percent, Lloyds fell 10.3 percent, Royal Bank of Scotland slipped 5.6 percent and UBS shed 7.3 percent. Analysts said some investors has taken profits following the recent rally in the sector. The market also took a note of the news that the European Union will ‘stress test’ its banking system by September. EU sources and banking supervisors said the tests were aimed at determining the sector’s resilience to the economic downturn and to find out if it is adequately capitalised. Energy stocks tracked oil prices higher. At one stage crude hit 60 dollars a barrel in the US for the first time in six months. The dollar has been at a four month low against major international currencies helping oil, which is priced in dollars and tends to rise when the dollar falls.