European shares ended lower on Tuesday after tracking Wall Street down in late trade, although media stocks were strong following recent underperformance and speculation that Dow Jones might be sold.

The UK's FTSEurofirst 300 (search) index unofficially closed 4 points lower at 1,188.59, after earlier inching up towards three-year highs before U.S. markets opened down.

The Dow Jones industrial average in New York was 67 points weaker at 1530 GMT after a disappointing outlook from retail giant Wal-Mart (WMT), a mixed bag of inflation data and a lower-than-expected rise in U.S. industrial production last month.

"We have basically replicated what the U.S markets are doing. The U.S. CPI inflation figures, the oil price creeping up and Wal-Mart being nothing special have hurt," said a trader.

"We have also had a good run, and European stock markets seem to be running out of steam. Lots of companies have reported, which was giving steam to the market, but now that impetus is not there."

Crude oil futures edged back up at $66 a barrel in U.S. trade, having earlier dipped which led to weakness in oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell (RD) and ENI.

The European media sector was the lead gainer as it rebounded from recent underperformance, while a report that members of Dow Jones's controlling shareholder family were pressing for a sale also helped.

France's Vivendi Universal gained 1 percent, and Reuters rose after dealers said JP Morgan and financial group Man were upbeat on the stock.

"The media sector has been a bit weak, but there is not one particular influence for why it has been strong today," said Paul Bates, an analyst at brokers Charles Stanley.

Other stocks on the increase were German industrial conglomerate Linde, which rose on renewed takeover rumours, and drug firm AstraZeneca, which added 1.3 percent.

Britain's FTSE 100 index lost 22 points and was weaker even before the Dow opened as high petrol prices helped UK inflation rise above its target in July to the highest level since 1997, denting hopes of further interest rate cuts.