Europe's blue-chip gauge closed fractionally lower, with French banks weighing amid growing fears the euro zone's second-largest economy will be sucked into the region's sovereign debt crisis.
French lenders BNP Paribas
France, with its huge exposure to Italy, is getting caught up in the fear factor, said David Morrison, market strategist at GFT Global.
FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally ended the session down 0.3 percent, at 972.17 points, after trimming losses in afternoon trading on the back of better-than-expected U.S. retail sales data. France's CAC 40 index <.FCHI> tumbled 1.9 percent.