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Europe shares close lower; Credit Suisse down 2.6%

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IBEX 35
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European stocks closed lower on Wednesday, with concerns over China's economy and a fall in Credit Suisse shares driving declines.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed provisionally down 0.1 percent lower at 1,350.15 points, halting in its sharp three-week rally.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed unofficially down 0.2 percent, the German DAX ended around 0.3 percent lower and the French Cac 40 was 0.2 percent lower.

Heavily-traded Swiss bank Credit Suisse closed around 2.6 percent lower after a U.S. Senate subcommittee alleged it had helped more than 22,000 Americans avoid paying U.S. taxes.

(Read more: Credit Suisse CEO to defend tax record)

Meanwhile, France's Airbus Group closed around 1.6 percent higher, as it unveiled higher 2013 profits and a hike in jetliner production.

(Read more: Airbus CEO defends outlook, ramps up A320 production)

In terms of sectors, auto stocks saw moderate gains after some selling pressure earlier in the week and technology stocks also rose modestly.

Utilities were the worst-performing sector. This came after U.K. regulator Ofgem announced new rules that would mean industry players could face financial penalties if they do not trade fairly with independent suppliers in the wholesale market.

China continued to weigh on investor sentiment, due to concerns about credit tightening and an overheated property market.

"The market has priced in imminent financial crisis in China with current valuations reflecting a big equity risk premium," Fan Cheuk Wan, CIO of Asia-Pacific at Credit Suisse Private Banking, told CNBC.

(Read more: Is China getting ready to widen the yuan's band?)

On the data front, the U.K.'s second reading of gross domestic product (GDP) was unchanged at 0.7 percent for the fourth quarter. Sterling rose to a session high after the news.

Meanwhile, Germany's GfK consumer sentiment index for March rose to 8.5. This compares to a revised number of 8.3 for last month.

Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld

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CAC 40
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STOXX600
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CSGN
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STOXX AUTOS
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STOXX 600 TECH
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.SX6P
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FTSE EUR 300
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