European shares edged modestly lower on Thursday, after recent sharp gains as investors proceeded with caution after the release of mixed corporate earnings. The Eurozone benchmark index, Euro Stoxx 600 Index, was lower on Thursday, falling 0.33 percent or 1.11 points with banking stocks leading the declines after both Lloyds and BNP Paribas released results. Meanwhile, Italy`s FTSE MIB Index was one of the biggest fallers across Europe, trading 0.81 percent lower at 19,981.42 as recent political turmoil in the country is threatening the Italian government once again. Italy's FTSE MIB was weighed by widespread speculation that Italy`s Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, in power since forming a coalition in April after an election stalemate, could be replaced by his younger rival. Speculations rose after Letta met the center-left leader Matteo Renzi on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Italy`s Democratic Party (PD) is due to hold a crisis meeting later in the day whether the largest party in the coalition will continue to support the prime minister. In other news, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to disburse 910 million-euro to Portugal on the completion of its tenth review under the bailout program. The Executive Board of the IMF urged the Portuguese government to complete fiscal consolidation and put the public debt firmly on a downward path. As of 04:10 EST, EURO STOXX 50 declined 0.37 percent to 3,083.54, Britain`s FTSE 100 index recorded 0.44 percent rise to 6,645.69. DAX also fell 0.16 percent to trade at 9.525.14. Across the atlantics, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee postponed its Thursday hearing with Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen because of a storm forecast along the U.S. East Coast. Traders, meanwhile, await U.S. reports on weekly jobless claims, retail sales reports due out later in the day for further signs the economic recovery is on a more solid footing.