UK stocks : FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct
A profit warning from Saipem caused shares in Europe's biggest oil services company to fall 34.3 percent and sent shockwaves through the oil & gas sector.
Imperial Tobacco, meanwhile, shed 4.3 percent after guiding for lower profits.
They both weighed on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which closed 0.6 percent lower at 1,171.09 points, chalking up the worst daily loss since Dec. 28.
The index, which remained on course to record its best month since July last year, was retreating from a 2-year high hit the day before, which had left it in "overbought" territory on its 14-day Relative Strength Index.
"Surely this is a little bit of a wake up call to this never-ending market rally," Dermot Corrigan, head of derivatives trading firm, Qubed Derivatives, said.
"The (cash) market is well overbought, so a correction would be healthy. With volatility at these levels protection isn't expensive."
Corrigan was positioned for a rise in the volatility of option prices, which typically shows investors are trading options to protect themselves from swings in the cash market.
Volatility on euro zone blue chips, as measured by Euro STOXX 50 Implied Volatility index, rose 7.3 percent, rebounding from lows not seen since 2007.
The underlying Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.6 percent to 2,732.12.
Indexes extended losses in the afternoon as data showed the U.S. economy unexpectedly
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