Europe Markets

EU shares close lower; World Bank cuts forecasts

EU shares close lower; World Bank cuts forecasts

European shares closed lower on Wednesday, having failed to find any real momentum during the session.

Profit warnings weigh

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed provisionally lower by 0.5 percent at 1,390.67 points, with telecom stocks some of the biggest laggards.

The French benchmark Cac 40 index closed unofficially lower 0.8 percent lower, pulled down by shares of Vallourec. Its shares ended more than 11 percent down after it issued a profit warning on Wednesday.

Lufthansa weighed heavily on the German benchmark DAX index, and on shares of other airlines such as Air France and Ryanair, after it also issued a profit warning. It cited weaker-than-expected revenue development at its passenger and freight businesses. It shares plummeted to close more than 14 percent lower.

The DAX ended provisionally 0.8 percent down.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed down unofficially 0.5 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB ended 1.3 percent lower. The latter was weighed down by shares of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which tanked 20 percent on reopening after two day's of failing to trade.

Shares of J Sainsbury climbed higher despite a reported sales fall. Analysts were confident the U.K. supermarket chain was showing signs of improvement and the share price closed nearly 1 percent higher.

Read MoreSainsbury's sales fall as King era draws to a close

On the economic data front, U.K. unemployment continued to fall in the three months to April, hitting its lowest level since 2009. The jobless rate slid to 6.6 percent, better than the 6.7 percent forecast.

UK economy is 'on fire': Pro

In Spain, the benchmark Ibex index closed unofficially down 0.7 percent.

Spanish retailer Inditex closed more than 1 percent higher, despite a profit fall for the first quarter. The Spanish retailer said the hit from currency depreciation would likely wane by the end of the year. Societe Generale said the results were "reassuring."

Oil price eyed

The World Bank on Tuesday evening cut its global growth outlook, blaming tensions in Ukraine and damped U.S. growth in the first half of 2014. It now forecasts the global economy will grow 2.8 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of 3.2 percent..

Read MoreWorld Bank: 'Prepare for next crisis now'

In Iraq, Islamist militants took control of the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, according to Reuters. This followed four days of heavy fighting in the city and around the surrounding province of Nineveh. Reuters reported Wednesday afternoon that a further city, Tikrit, had also fallen into rebel hands.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency that would give him extraordinary powers to tackle the crisis, according to Reuters.

Read MoreOil spike eyed as Iraq violence escalates