European stocks closed lower on Wednesday as concerns continued over the possibility the Federal Reserve might begin tapering of asset-purchasing.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index ended unofficially lower at 1,224,19 points after a thin day of trade, reversing Tuesday's gains. The index has fallen 3 percent from its 2013 peak of 1,258.09.
Markets were hit by continued fears of an end to quantitative easing by central banks, plus growth concerns from Germany, the euro zone's largest economy. On Wednesday, German labor data showed more people than expected had joined the unemployment rolls for the month of May. The jobless rate was left unchanged at 6.9 percent.
Meanwhile, the European Commission gave its verdict on countries that have missed EU budget deficit targets at a press conference. It confirmed that France, Poland, Slovenia and Spain will get two-year extensions to meet deficit targets.
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In Italy, the treasury sold 8 billion euros of 6-month debt, with yields creeping higher by a few basis points, the highest since March.