Hopes for Covid-19 vaccines helped support European pharmaceutical stocks but concerns that EU leaders will row back on their planned dosages of support for European economies weighed on stock markets.
The Ftse-100 ended 0.5% lower andthe Eurostoxx index was pegged back to a gain of less than 1%, as European leaders talked about the size of the grants for European countries.
In Ireland, shares in the main banks AIB and Bank of Ireland, as well as hotel and travel firms, including Dalata and Ryanair, slipped. Irish Ferries-owner ICG was little changed.
"While much of the market upside seen throughout recent months have come from positivity around the coordinated stimulus efforts around the globe, that boost appears to be fading as traders await another boost on both sides of the Atlantic," said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at online broker IG.
He said positive news "on the vaccine front" failed to lift stock markets, which focussed instead on "worries over the size of future financial packages in Europe and the US".
A vaccine the University of Oxford is developing with AstraZeneca showed promising results in early human testing, with it working to boost levels of both protective antibodies and immune T-cells that target the virus, the study published in the medical journal the Lancet confirmed. AstraZenca shares rose 1.5%, extending its gains in the past year to 50%.
Other vaccines showing positive tests include China's CanSino Biologics and a vaccine that Germany's BioNTech is developing with Pfizer.