Europe's main stock markets fell on Friday in downbeat pre-weekend trading before the outcome of a major eurozone ministers meeting aiming to agree a bailout for the Cyprus government, dealers said.
Sentiment was also dented ahead of triple witching day, when stock index futures, index options and stock options all expire together.
At close, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading companies slid 0.61 percent to 6,489.65 points.
In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 dropped 0.19 percent to 8,042.85 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.71 percent to 3,844.03 points.
In foreign exchange activity, the euro firmed to $1.3064 from $1.3003 late Thursday in New York. Gold prices increased to $1,595.50 an ounce on the London Bullion Market from $1,586.
Eurozone veteran Jean-Claude Juncker said the Eurogroup finance ministers under way in Brussels must agree on a bailout for the near-bankrupt Cyprus government.
"The Cyprus question should not just be brought closer to a solution -- it should be solved," Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker told reporters at the close of a gathering of eurozone leaders in the middle of a two-day European Union summit.
Asked if he foresaw a deal at the finance talks, the recently-departed Eurogroup chairman said: "I can't imagine that we would let the weekend pass without having solved the Cyprus problem."
European stocks had closed higher on Thursday on news that Ireland could become the first eurozone nation to emerge from its bailout programme, and following a decline of US jobless claims for a third straight week.
Gekko Markets analyst Anita Paluch said: "European stocks are struggling for direction as caution prevails ahead of the triple witching, when options and futures contracts will expire."
US stocks also fell in midday trade Friday after a key consumer sentiment index sank and the Fed's review of bank capital plans raised questions about lending giants JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.
At around 1700 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.27 percent, the broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.11 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.16 percent.
The University of Michigan Consumer index took a surprising dive to 71.8, its lowest level since the end of 2011 and down from 77.6 in February. Analysts had expected a gain.
JPMorgan shares sank after the Federal Reserve on Thursday raised questions about its capital plans, ordering adjustments to "address weaknesses".
JPMorgan was also hit by the release of a damning US Senate report on the London Whale trades.
Asian equity markets were mixed.
The yen was flat after Japanese lawmakers gave final approval to the government's nominees to take the helm at the Bank of Japan, with expectations high that it will usher in more aggressive monetary easing.
Tokyo stocks rallied 1.45 percent to 12,560.95, their highest level since September 2008, while Sydney bounced back from three days of losses to register its biggest rise since July, adding 1.75 percent to close at 5,120.2.
On the downside, Hong Kong finished 0.38 percent lower and Seoul fell 0.78 percent in value.