[LONDON] European shares fell on Wednesday after two straight days of gains, as a drop in Italian bank UniCredit and Austrian bank Erste knocked financial stocks.
Mixed Chinese economic data, along with a decision by the World Bank to slash its 2016 global economic growth forecast, also gave some traders a reason to take a negative view on the outlook for stock markets.
"The Chinese export figures looked a bit disappointing, and the World Bank's cut to its forecasts is another reason to be a bit bearish on the markets," Berkeley Futures' associate director, Richard Griffiths, said.
The pan-European STOXX 600 and FTSEurofirst 300 indexes both ended down 0.5 per cent.
UniCredit fell on uncertainty over the appointment of a new CEO and the possibility that it will have to launch a capital increase. The bank is due to hold a board meeting on Thursday.
Erste shares fell 3.8 per cent, after insurance company Uniqa said it would sell about 17.4 million Erste shares.
Shares in payment systems company Ingenico dropped 7.2 per cent after sector peer VeriFone posted lower-than-expected earnings.
Shares in German pharmaceuticals company Stada Arzneimittel fell 1.7 per cent after it denied a recent media report that it had held talks with CVC Capital Partners over a potential buyout.
The top riser was payments company Wirecard, which jumped 5.9 per cent, with traders citing reports that a Chinese company was interested in buying all or part of it.
Britain's FTSE 100 was the top performing European market, up 0.3 per cent on the back of a rally in mining stocks including Anglo American and Glencore.
German utility E.ON gained 3.5 per cent. Its chief executive Johannes Teyssen urged shareholders to support plans to spin off Uniper, the operator of its conventional energy business.