New economic data pointing to continued weakness in the 17 countries that use the euro along with continued worries the US is failing to grapple with its fiscal chaos weighed on European markets Wednesday.
Milans benchmark FTSE MIB ended the day 0.52% lower, at 15,191 points, dragged down by banks and Fiat.
In Europe, Pariss CAC 40 closed down 0.89%, at 3,400, Frankfurts Dax ended the day 0.94% lower, at 7,102, and Londons FTSE 100 shed 1.1%, at 5,722. Madrids IBEX-35 closed essentially unvaried at 7,673.
The spread between Italys 10-year benchmark bond and its German equivalent, an indicator of how investors view the prospects of Italys economy, closed at 361 basis points, a whisker lower than Tuesdays closing of 362 basis points.
In Italy, Monte dei Paschi di Siena shed 5.2% after reporting its second, consecutive quarterly loss. The bottom line was hit by falling revenues and increasing impairment costs.
Other banks, including Intesa Sanpaolo, Unicredit, BPM and Bper also closed lower. Investor sentiment in Europe was weighed down by worries that the eurozone is heading into its second consecutive quarter of recession in the third quarter.
Industrial production in the 17 countries that use the common currency dropped in September, while GDP activity in Greece and Portugal fell at a faster rate in the third quarter than the second.
Figures from Eurostat, the EUs official statistics agency, showed industrial production in the area slumped 2.5% on the month in September, the largest fall since January 2009 and compared with August's 0.9% increase.
General strikes and protests against austerity measures took place Wednesday in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, at times turning violent.
Compounding the negative mood in Europe, US markets took a downward direction Wednesday as investors continue to worry about the governments inability to find solutions to an impending budget crisis.