European shares turned lower today, hit by a drop in bank, oil and auto shares, as investors locked in gains following a strong week that has helped to stabilise markets after a tumultuous start to the year.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.7% at 1,285.07 points at the close, but still gained 4.3% since Monday, posting its best week since October 2015.

The FTSE in London fell 0.36%, while all of the major euro zone markets also fell.

The CAC in Paris lost 0.39%, and in Frankfurt the DAX dropped 0.86%.

In Dublin, the ISEQ ended the day slightly lower (-0.08%). Paddy Power Betfair and Applegreen gained, while IFG Group and AIB both fell.

Indices had been buoyed by gains in bank and energy stocks this week after a tough start to the year, but those sectors saw profit-taking today.

"We were due a recovery, as the markets were oversold... but the underlying story hasn't really changed, and people don't want to take risks heading into the weekend," said Mike McCudden, head of retail derivatives at Interactive Investor.

"There is still a stand-off between oil-producing parties, and the concerns over the banks have not gone away."

Among top sectoral fallers were the banks, which fell 1.4 %. They are still up 8.5% from last week's lows but are down over 20% for the year on concern over how they can protect profits in a low-interest-rate, low-growth environment.

Oil prices also resumed their slide as a record build-up in US crude stockpiles stoked worries about global oversupply. Oil and gas shares fell 1%.

"At this stage ... it is still unclear if the current up-move has run its course or if this is merely a 'normal' and much-needed consolidation before the next leg higher," said Markus Huber, a trader at City of London Markets.

Auto shares fell 1.2%, with scandal-hit Volkswagen under pressure again. The stock fell 3.2% after a media report that VW does not expect to reach an agreement with the United States over its rigging of emissions tests before the end of March.

Allianz fell 1.3% after the German insurer missed profit and dividend expectations and gave a 2016 operating profit target in line with analysts' predictions.

Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks both eased, ending a rally as a fresh fall in the price of oil dampened sentiment and renewed broader worries about the global economy.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.4%, or 77.58 points, to close at 19,285.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.10%, or 2.87 points, to 2,860, although the index still rose 3.49% over the week.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, gained 0.49%, or 9.09 points, to 1,850. It jumped 5.70% over the week.

In Japan Tokyo stocks closed down sharply, as a stronger yen dented exporters and another fall in oil prices hammered commodity and energy shares.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 1.42%, or 229.63 points, to close at 15,967.

Last night in the US, Wall Street closed lower, ending a three-day winning streak, as Wal-Mart shares dragged on the market after a lacklustre earnings report and oil prices pulled back.