Europe Markets

Europe finishes sharply lower as technology weighs

Europe finishes sharply lower as technology weighs

European equities finished around 1 percent lower on average on Wednesday, down from multi-year highs, despite better-than-expected data from Germany.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally ended around 1 percent lowerm as European technology stocks slipped, mimicking a similar downturn on Wall Street.

Notably, ARM, which makes chips for the likes of Apple, fell to the bottom of the U.K. benchmark FTSE 100 index, finishing 6 percent lower.

The FTSE 100 ended provisionally down 0.2 percent, while France's CAC 40 closed 1.2 percent lower.

The German DAX index ended unofficially down 1 percent, despite better-than-expected widely business sentiment data from Ifo.

Germany's closely watched Ifo index rose to 107.9 in March from 106.8 in February. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a March reading of 107.3.

The reading helped push the euro back towards $1.10.

However, the German data was overshadowed by the downward trend on Wall Street, where investors continued to ponder the timing of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike, as well as the impact of the strong U.S. dollar on earnings.

Oil markets were also in focus, with Brent crude prices volatile after data on Wednesday showed U.S. inventories jumped to their highest in at least 80 years last week.

Elsewhere, Greece risks running out of cash by April 20 unless it secures fresh aid, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. The leaves the country's hard-left leaders little time to convince skeptical creditors they are committed to economic reforms.

Stock watch

Airline stocks remained in focus, after an Airbus A320 plane, operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings airline, crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board.

Lufthansa shares fell a further 1 percent Wednesday and Airbus finished over 2 percent lower.

Read MoreGermanwings plane black box found but damaged

Outperformers included Britain's Bellway which reported a rise in first-half profit. Stock in the housebuilder rose as much as 6 percent before finishing 2.7 percent higher.

Meanwhile, Raiffeisen Bank slipped over 1 percent after the company issued a profit warning on the back of restructuring costs in the full-year results.