European stocks marked their biggest decline in three weeks on Wednesday, a day before a European Central Bank meeting that will see policymakers debate a cut in its pandemic-era stimulus programme.
Stocks performed poorly in Dublin with the board a sea of red. The Iseq index closed down 1.57 per cent at 8,708.9.
The biggest fallers were financial stocks, with Bank of Ireland and AIB both down more than 4 per cent to €4.999 and €2.345 respectively.
Iseq heavyweight CRH was almost 1 per cent lower to €43.68, with Flutter off nearly 2 per cent at €168.6. Other declines included Smurfit Kappa, which lost 2.1 per cent to end at €49.05, and Ryanair, which closed down 0.9 per cent to €15.85.
London's FTSE 100 slipped for a second session on Wednesday, dragged by pharmaceutical and bank stocks, while Dunelm Group jumped to the top of the mid-cap index after posting upbeat annual results.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.7 per cent down, as pharmaceutical stocks weighed with drugmakers AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline among top drags.
Banking shares shed 1.2 per cent, with big lenders Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group slipping 1.6 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively, after Morgan Stanley cut its price targets on the stocks.
Halfords Group dropped 1.9 per cent after the bikes and car parts retailer said disruption in the global supply chain was impacting its cycling business.
The domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index declined 0.9 per cent, recording its worst session in nearly three weeks.
Dunelm Group was up 12.4 per cent, jumping to the top of mid-cap index after the home-furnishing retailer declared a special dividend and forecast fiscal 2022 profit to be modestly above analysts' forecasts.
B&M rose 7 per cent after the discount retailer forecast first-half profit well above market estimates on Wednesday, thanks to stronger-than-expected margins at its UK stores.
Smiths Group rose 2.9 per cent after the technology company agreed to sell its medical unit to US-based ICU for $2.4 billion.
The Europe-focused Stoxx 600 index fell 1.1 per cent, with automobile stocks leading losses with a 2.2 per cent drop. Finnish tyre maker Nokian was the worst performer in the sector, down 4.4 per cent amid investor disappointment with the firm's new margin targets.
Economy-sensitive financial services, banking and oil and gas stocks fell about 1.3 per cent, as investors feared any changes to the ECB’s large stimulus programme, given a recent spike in inflation.
Spanish turbine maker Siemens Gamesa fell 8.6 per cent, and was the worst performer on the Stoxx 600 after JP Morgan downgraded the stock to a "neutral" rating. Danish peer Vestas also fell 4.5 per cent.
Swedish investment company EQT fell 3.4 per cent after a share-placing deal, while Stellantis dropped 2.9 per cent as Dongfeng Motor Hong Kong said it had sold shares in the carmaker for about €600 million.
French drugmaker Sanofi slipped 2.5 per cent after it agreed to buy US biopharmaceutical company Kadmon in a $1.9 billion deal.
Wall Street indexes dropped on Wednesday on concerns that the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant could slow economic growth and on uncertainty over the timeline for the Federal Reserve to pull back its accommodative policies.
The S&P 500 technology sector was among the biggest losing sub-indexes as heavyweight Microsoft slipped 0.6 per cent and Apple fell 1 per cent.
Perrigo jumped 9.4 per cent after the drugmaker said it plans to buy HRA Pharma from investment firms Astorg and Goldman Sachs Asset Management in a deal valued at €1.8 billion.
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase fell 3.3 per cent after the US securities regulator threatened to sue the firm if it goes ahead with plans to launch a crypto lending scheme.
US payments giant PayPal fell 2 per cent after it said it would acquire Japanese buy now, pay later firm Paidy in a $2.7 billion largely cash deal. – Additional reporting: Reuters