* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct, reverses previous day’s gains
* HSBC, RBS, UBS, Barclays in focus after forex probe fines
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Nov 12 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Wednesday, with HSBC losing ground after global regulators fined five major banks for failings in currency trading.
The regulators imposed penalties totalling $3.4 billion on UBS, Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and JP Morgan.
HSBC was down 0.9 percent and RBS dipped 0.2 percent, while the Frankfurt-listed shares of JPMorgan and Citi were down 0.6-0.9 percent.
Barclays shares were 1.8 percent lower. The British bank, a major player in the foreign exchange market, had been expected to be part of the settlement but the FCA said its investigation was continuing.
“The fact that Barclays has delayed a settlement on this probe keeps the uncertainty,” a London-based trader said.
Shares in UBS bucked the trend, up 0.2 percent, with traders saying the fine was already provisioned for.
At 0925 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.6 percent at 1,351.13 points and remained within the tight trading range seen since late October.
“The fines are not that high compared to other fines that hit a number of banks recently, and overall the market has got used to them,” Meeschaert fund manager Frederic Rozier said.
“But it’s nothing to reassure investors on the outlook for the banking sector. There are rising concerns in Europe over the pressure on banks and on whether the transmission of the ECB’s measures to boost lending will work.”
Overall, the STOXX Europe banking sector was down 1.1 percent, with UniCredit down 3.1 percent and Banco Popolare -- which posted a net loss of 121.7 million euros in January-September -- down 3.3 percent.
“Even though the fines are manageable, the news flow for the banks remains negative,” said Saxo Bank trader Pierre Martin. “Banks are getting increasingly reluctant to take risks, which will have consequences for the real economy.”
Around Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 index was down 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX index down 1 percent, and France’s CAC 40 down 0.8 percent.
Shares in oil services group SBM Offshore NV jumped 19 percent after it settled with Dutch prosecutors for $240 million over an inquiry into suspected improper payments to government officials.
Supermarket chain J. Sainsbury fell 4.9 percent after taking a hit on profits and pledging to cut costs more.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Catherine Evans