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EUROPEAN REPORT

EUROPEAN shares closed lower yesterday as banks gave back some of their recent gains, though a late rally in commodities prices helped to limit the losses of mining and energy shares. <br /><br />The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.8 per cent to 865.11 points, rising off the day&rsquo;s low of 857.39.<br /><br />The index had risen for the past three out of four weeks and has gained 34 per cent since hitting a lifetime low in early March.<br /><br />&ldquo;You&rsquo;ll see that the shares that have gone down today are the biggest winners of the last few weeks,&rdquo; said Ad van Tiggelen, senior strategist at ING Investment Management.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s profit taking. I don&rsquo;t think anything specific has happened today &ndash; I wouldn&rsquo;t read too much into it. Cyclicals and industrials are going down. Telecoms and pharmas are holding up.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Anglo American</strong>, <strong>BHP Billiton</strong>, <strong>Rio Tinto</strong>, <strong>Vedanta Resources</strong> and <strong>Xstrata</strong> fell between 2 and 4.7 per cent, although metals prices were recovering some of their losses by the end of the session.<br /><br /><strong>Lloyds Banking Group</strong> closed 7.7 per cent lower after raising just under 3.5 bn pounds from shareholders, which it will use to pay back some of the money injected by the British government last year. <br /><br /><strong>Banco Santander</strong>, <strong>Credit Suisse</strong>, <strong>Deutsche Bank</strong> and<strong> Societe Generale</strong> fell between 1.6 and 4 per cent.