European shares fell to a one-week closing low on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi gave no indication it would aggressively increase its bond-buying programme and said the region's economy faced increased downside risks.

Bank stocks, which are at the forefront of the euro zone debt crisis due to their exposure to the region's debt, featured among the heaviest performers after the Draghi comments, with the STOXX Europe 600 Banks index down 3.2 percent.

Investors were hoping for more colour on bond buying as liquidity in the financial system is tight, Veronika Pechlaner, a fund manager on the Ashburton European equity fund, said.

We are still underweight on financials and, after the statement today, we are unlikely to change this view.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares provisionally closed down 1.4 percent at 974.56 points in a choppy session having been up as much as 998.75 and down as low as 974.08.

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson)