European shares closed flat yesterday after recent strong gains, with insurers weighing on the market after JP Morgan cut its rating for several companies in the sector.
RSA Insurance fell 2.2pc after JP Morgan downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "overweight", while Hannover Rueck fell 2.7pc after the investment bank cut its price target to €102 from €108.
The European insurance index was down 0.9pc, the biggest faller in the pan-European STOXX 600 index, which fell 0.3pc. The STOXX 600, which hit a one-year high on Tuesday, closed 0.1pc lower in the previous session.
The worst performer across the European benchmark was Rolls-Royce which fell more than 3pc. The stock suffered a price target at JP Morgan.
Rolls-Royce led the loser board on Britain's FTSE 100 index which held near-record highs underpinned by a 1.3pc rise in the UK mining index following an increase in industrial metals prices on brightening outlook for Chinese metals demand.
Embattled retailer Next PLC fell another 2pc in early trades, setting its shares up for the worst three-day loss in nearly two decades.
The Iseq overall index of Irish shares was up by over half a percentage point (0.57) spurred on by Kingspan 3.4pc, Origin Enterprises (2.1pc), Malin Corp (3.2pc) and Smurfit Kappa (2.9pc). The index closed at 6617.76, up 37.53 points.
Shares in Permanent TSB rallied late on to close down 1.7pc. The Irish lender's stocks were down by over 5pc in late afternoon, but a late spate of purchases late on helped the stock regain ground. Bank of Ireland shares also fell, dropping by 3pc.