European shares shed their earlier gains on Monday and finished lower for the third day running, though commodity stocks were boosted by higher crude oil and metals prices.
Banks suffered because of concerns over their losses from exposure to an investment fund run by US investor Bernard Mayoff. BNP Paribas was the worst performer followed by Santander and HSBC. Investors were also nervous ahead of the decision of the Federal Reserve interest rate meeting and reacted to new figures showing US industrial production contracted in November as exports tumbled and car makers reduced production. Home appliance maker Electrolux slipped after issuing a profit warning for 2008 and more job cuts. The price of crude oil briefly topped 50 dollars a barrel in the US boosted partly by expectations OPEC will agree on a deep supply cut this week to try to prop up prices. A weaker dollar also lent support to oil.