Europe Shares Close at Lowest Level Since January

Friday was a volatile trading day in Europe, with shares rebounding after Thursday's sell-off, before turning lower again.


The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index ended provisionally down 0.7 percent at 1,136.4 points, its lowest close since early January. The index dropped 3.4 percent on the week, with investors panicked by the prospect that the U.S. Federal Reserve might start scaling back its asset purchases this year.

(Read More: Here's Who Wins and Who Loses From Fed Taper Talk)

Meanwhile, trading volumes and volatility in Europe were increased by the expiration of three types of options and futures contracts, or "triple witching", on Friday.

(CNBC Explains: Witching)

In a sign of investor caution, food and beverage stocks were the top performers in Europe on Friday, while cyclicals like autos led losses.

Meanwhile, David Lipton, a senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) official, told CNBC that talks of suspending aid to Greece were "premature". This came after the Financial Times reported that the IMF is preparing to withdraw aid, unless the euro zone plugs a 3 - 4 billion euro funding gap in Greece's bailout program.

With uncertainty growing, Greek stocks tumbled and closed 6.1 percent lower on Friday.

(Read More: Greece Aid Suspension Talk 'Premature': IMF's Lipton)