European shares fell for the third consecutive session on Wednesday after retail sales for April in the United States were weaker than expected.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended down 2.5% at 831.71 points.
Banks were down again: Royal Bank of Scotland dropped 12.6% and Barclays fell 9.6%. UBS was down 10.1%.
ING fell 11.9% after reporting reported a net loss for the first quarter that was much bigger than expected.
Shares of Allianz, Europe's biggest insurer, dropped 7.8% after the company reported a 98% fall in first-quarter net profit.
Aegon lost 14.2% , Swiss Re shed 11.9% and AXA closed 7.7% lower.
In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 4,727.61 points, down 126.5 or 2.61%. In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 3,152.9 points, down 78.2 or 2.42%.
The Swiss market index closed at 5,277.37 points, down 68.66 or 1.28%.
In London, the FTSE 100 closed at 4,331.37 points, down 94.17 or 2.13%.
In Japan, the Nikkei gained 41.88 points. 0.5%, to 9,340.49.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index finished the day down 94.02 points. 0.55%, at 17,059.62.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 21.1 points, 0.54%, to 3,856.1 and the All Ordinaries index dropped 21.1 points, or 0.55% to 3842.5.
In New Zealand, the NZX50 index was 1 point lower at 2811 on turnover of $93 million.