European shares close down as Fed fears mount

European shares closed broadly lower on Tuesday amid continuing concerns over a potential reduction in asset buying by the U.S. central bank. Mining stocks posted heavy losses, after disappointing earnings from BHP Billiton and Glencore-Xstrata weighed on sentiment.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed down 0.8 percent to 1,214.64 points, with all key European bourses in the red. The Spanish IBEX fell 1.9 percent, closed the FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent — it has now fallen 3.5 percent since the start of the month.

The basic resources sector closed provisionally down 1.40 percent. Shares of U.K.-based miner BHP Billiton slipped by 1.94 percent after earnings missed forecasts on Tuesday, with a 15 percent fall in second-half profit.

(Read More: BHP Billiton profit drops 15% despite cost cuts)

Shares of Glencore Xstrata fell 2 percent after it wrote down the value of assets inherited from Xstrata by $7.7 billion. It also announced a 9 percent drop in core profit in the first set of full results since the two companies merged.

(Read More: Glencore takes $7.7 billion hit on Xstrata assets)


U.S stocks held modest gains across the board on Tuesday, recovering after the Dow and S&P 500 logged their first four-day losing streaks this year, but the anxiety about Fed tapering kept gains in check.

In stocks news, Barclays shares dropped 0.67 percent after a U.S. appeals court said investors may revive a lawsuit accusing the U.K. bank of misleading them in a 2008 stock offering about its subprime mortgage exposure.

(Read More: Barclays faces renewed lawsuit over subprime)

Shares of building materials manufacturer and supplier CRH fell 3.63 percent after disappointing earnings, with the CEO Myles Lee telling CNBC that the company faced a difficult backdrop.

Shares of German property group Deutsche Wohnen fell by 4.77 percent after it announced that it was bidding for real estate firm GSW Immobilien, whose shares closed up roughly 6.13 percent.

Concern over the outlook for stock markets also hit insurers, with AXA down 3.83 percent and British insurer Prudential falling 3.2 percent.