European shares finished down, but had been much lower earlier in the session as investors reacted to the record decline in euro zone industrial orders.
The region’s markets trimmed their losses on a strong showing by Wall Street. A rally in energy shares was sparked by higher oil prices. Crude rose after Nigeria’s main militant group shut down one of Royal Dutch Shell’s pipeline junctions. However banks were big losers and drugmakers were also under pressure. Among the factors was a high estimate of Irish bank losses from the International Monetary Fund which said the Irish economy will shrink at an “unprecedented” pace. That hit shares of Allied Irish and Bank of Ireland. Standard Chartered’s trading update also failed to inspire and it fell 2.3 percent.