European shares finished down over 2.5 percent as investors took profits after a five day winning streak. Banks were hardest hit.
Among the negative factors – the Federal Reserve trimmed its growth forecast for the US economy for the next three years and the latest weekly jobless claims total in the states was slightly worse than expected. Investors ignored the fact that the euro zone’s services and manufacturing sectors contracted less than expected in May. Sterling tumbled against the euro and the dollar after Standard & Poor’s revised down its UK ratings outlook to negative from stable. Oil prices are sharply lower after hitting a six-month high earlier this week and that pulled down energy stocks. Miners also suffered from slipping metals prices.