European markets closed lower Wednesday afternoon as the long-awaited U.S. tax overhaul wound its way through Congress.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended Wednesday's trade 0.68 percent lower, with most sectors and all major bourses in negative territory. Shares slumped in late afternoon trade, given that they were only marginally lower earlier in the day.
Chemicals, health care, household goods and technology were all down over 1 percent.
Plunging furthest in the household goods sector, Steinhoff International shares tanked once again. The scandal-hit South African retailer said Tuesday it would be unable to provide details regarding the magnitude of its accounting irregularities, with its shares ending the day's trade nearly 35 percent lower.
Basic resources was among the few gainers, with almost all individual stocks in positive territory.
Looking at individual companies, Stada soared to the top of the benchmark after the German drugmaker announced it had signed an agreement with Nidda Healthcare. Its shares closed over 8 percent higher.
Meanwhile, Swiss airport retailer Dufry also traded near the top of the Stoxx 600 throughout the day, after U.S. hedge fund manager and investor Paul Singer built a 5.57 percent voting stake in the company, Reuters reported. Dufry's shares closed over 2.5 percent higher.
Stateside, U.S. stocks opened higher on investor confidence surrounding the passing of a tax overhaul through Congress, as well as stronger-than-expected corporate earnings. By lunchtime, they were trading little changed.
The U.S. Senate comfortably sweeping tax legislation on Wednesday, allowing President to move a step closer to claiming his first major legislative victory. The tax bill will now go back to the House for a final vote later in the session.