News of North Korea's recent nuclear test pulled down European shares but failed to cause a huge selloff as investors appear to be used to geopolitical tensions.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index and euro zone blue chips were both down 0.5 percent and all major bourses, from the UK's FTSE to France's CAC 40 posted losses from 0.3 to 0.8 percent.
Uncertainty over the response to the recent North Korean test unnerved investors, leading to a jump in stock market volatility. Europe's volatility index rose 1.5 points.
No sector in Europe closed in positive territory, stocks in the financial services industry had the worst day, slipping one percent.
Advances in safe-haven assets, including gold, sent miners Randgold and Fresnillo higher by two and 2.9 percent respectively, while Polymetal acquired support from a JPMorgan upgrade to “neutral” from “underweight”.
Technology stocks were one of the worst performers, closing 0.9 percent lower as a sector overall. Shares of Gemalto plunged to the bottom off the benchmark as Deutsche Bank, Kepler Cheuvreux, and Invest Securities trimmed their target price for the Dutch digital security company. Its shares closed ten percent lower.
Pharma heavyweight Novartis dropped one percent as the group said its chief executive, Joseph Jimenez, would retire in 2018, and chief drug developer Vasant Narasimhan, 41, would run the company from February.
UK specialty chemicals company Victrex rose 8.6 percent, notching a record peak after reducing its full-year tax guidance and saying Jakob Sigurdsson was joining the company as CEO-designate. Its shares were the highest advancers on the STOXX.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com