European markets ended lower on Wednesday amid increasing concerns regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's economic growth agenda and following a terrorist incident in London.
The pan-European STOXX 600 closed down by 0.44 percent with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
According to unconfirmed media reports, U.K. police shot an assailant after an officer was stabbed and several people were injured outside the Houses of Parliament, the heart of the British political scene. Sterling dropped to a six-day low of 87 pence per euro after the initial reports but it had recovered slightly by the time European markets closed.
Banks and financial services were among the worst performers after U.S. stocks witnessed their worst day of the year as banks faced pressure from falling yields. Furthermore, the Dutch lender ING Groep led the falls among Europe's banks after disclosing a criminal investigation which could lead to significant fines. Its shares were down by 4 percent.
Sticking with the Netherlands, digital security firm Gemalto plummeted to the bottom of the benchmark. The company cited a weak U.S. payment business as the prominent reason it was having to cut its profit forecasts on Wednesday. Its shares slumped by over 17 percent and the Dutch firm was on track for its biggest one-day loss on record.
Kingfisher shares fell 5 percent after it warned about political uncertainty in Europe affecting demand for the home improvement company.
In the U.S., markets opened lower for the fifth straight day as investors are concerned that President Trump will not deliver tax cuts and infrastructure investment - two of his main campaign pledges.
Banks moves to the euro zone after Brexit
A top official at the European Central Bank said Wednesday that British-based banks that want to move to the euro zone should be given an expedited entry. This would mean that regulators should not make lengthy initial tests to their risk models, Reuters reported.
Earlier, data from the ECB showed that the euro zone's current account deficit slipped to its lowest level in a year in January.
In France, centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron's bid for president appeared to gather steam as he gained the support from a junior minister in the socialist government and the interior minister resigned in a scandal.
Meanwhile, the center-right presidential candidate Francois Fillon currently wrapped up in an embezzlement probe is facing claims he allegedly sought to profit financially from ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a report from the Financial Times. French voters are set to vote for a new president in the first round of a two-stage contest on April 23.