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LONDON: European shares ended lower on Thursday, pressured by COVID-19 worries with highly valued technology stocks continuing their slide while falling oil prices weighed on energy companies.

The pan-European STOXX 600 erased early gains to slip 0.1%, continuing a mid-week wobble on concerns the newly discovered Omicron coronavirus variant could dent global economic recovery as governments ramp up measures to slow its spread.

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday warned the pandemic could turn out far more costly than estimated. This seemingly undid to an extent optimism that came after vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech said three shots of their vaccine was effective against Omicron.

Oil prices slipped as a ratings downgrade for two Chinese property developers stoked fears over the economic health of the world’s biggest oil importer, adding to worries.

European oil majors BP, Royal Dutch Shell and TotalEnergies fell between 0.6% and 1.5%.

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