French rate cut relief only brief
Frankfurt DAX: 2815.13 (-40.66)
Frankfurt showed the biggest drop of the major European bourses, with dollar weakness - which sours prospects for Germany's many exporters - a key depressant. "We have lost what we gained yesterday but volumes are relatively weak. Most players have had enough and just want to celebrate Christmas," said one German share dealer.
Paris CAC-40: 2193.70 (-28.87)
French shares were also depressed and even a small Bank of France rate cut gave only brief relief. The Bank of France trimmed its intervention rate to 3.15 per cent from 3.2 per cent and its less crucial five-to-10 day rate to 4.6 per cent from 4.75 per cent.
Milan Mibtel: 10293 (-23)
Italian shares closed mostly lower after the higher-than-expected American housing figures sent shivers through Wall Street and the major European markets. Telecom stocks, which had risen on Monday, also eased back in generally thin trading.