European shares fell for the third straight session on Wednesday on intensifying concerns that the region's sovereign debt crisis could spread to France and Spain, with Italy being further sucked into the turmoil.

Highlighting the concerns, the chief executive of Societe Generale was not ruling out a recession in France next year and said the bank would have to cut hundreds of jobs to strengthen its balance sheet, according to a trade union memo.

By 8:08 a.m., France's CAC 40 <.FCHI> fell 0.2 percent and Italy's FTSE MIB <.FTMIB> while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> was down 0.2 percent at 968.46 points.

This market is not about macro or micro data, it's all about sovereign bond yields. The apostles of the value style have been saying for 18 months: 'stocks are cheap'. They look cheap indeed, but the focus is elsewhere, said Bertrand Lamielle, head of asset management at Paris-based B*Capital.

We now have to ask ourselves: what if a state goes bankrupt? What if a state gets out of the euro zone?

(Reporting by Dominic Lau in London and Blaise Robinson in Paris)