European shares ended a volatile session little changed on Tuesday as coordinated action by global central banks to unlock the money markets boosted financial shares, but investors remained cautious.
Banks were the top performing sector, helped also by U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs which beat forecasts with its quarterly earnings.
In Europe, HSBC was the leading positive weight on the market, while food producers offset the rally in banks after two downgrades to Switzerland's Nestle sent shares in the company down by nearly 3 percent.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended the day at an unofficial close of 1,490.89 points, down 0.05 percent, having risen by as much as 0.88 percent earlier in its most volatile day of trade in two weeks.
"A lot of this gives us an indication of how much the credit crunch is still at the front of investors' minds and from the looks of it the impact (of positive news) is waning a little bit," said James Hughes, a market analyst for CMC Markets.
Volumes on the FTSEurofirst were fairly thin, accounting for about 80 percent of the average daily volume seen in the last 30 days.
London's FTSE-100 index was flat, while Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.3 percent and Paris' CAC-40 dipped 0.1 percent.