Sun, Nov 18, 2007 - Page 10 News List

EUROPE: European stocks fall on banking sector concerns

AFP , LONDON

A woman enters a Royal Bank of Scotland branch in London on April 23. Royal Bank of Scotland gave up 4.9 percent to close at ?4.365 on Friday.

PHOTO: EPA

European stock exchanges ended the week well into negative territory on Friday, dragged down by persistent fears for the health of the banking sector and its exposure to the US home mortgage crisis.

The London FTSE 100 index shed 1.08 percent to close at 6,291.2 while in Paris the CAC 40 lost 0.67 percent to reach 5,523.63. The Frankfurt Dax fell 0.71 percent to end the session at 7,612.26.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone shares lost 0.44 percent to reach 4,282.4 by the end of trading.

In London real estate lender Alliance and Leicester fell 6.32 percent to ?6.07 on renewed fears for its financing. The bank is seen as particularly fragile in the current financial market turmoil because of its heavy borrowing needs.

Many banks around the world have cut back on their lending in response to the collapse of the US subprime -- or high-risk -- US morgage market. A wave of foreclosures has undermined the value of billions of dollars in securities held by banks and finance institutions that are backed by such mortgages.

Elsewhere in the financial sector, Northern Rock fell 1.55 percent to ?1.326, HBOS was down 2.4 percent at ?7.595 and Royal Bank of Scotland gave up 4.9 percent to close at ?4.365.

In Paris energy giant Total gained 1.34 percent to finish at 54.32 euros on higher crude prices, which reflected OPEC's rejection of appeals for an increase in its production.

As in London, banks in Paris weighed heavily on market sentiment. Societe Generale shed 2.6 percent to reach 102.27 euros while BNP Paribas fell 1.71 percent to 71.46 euros.

In Frankfurt chipmaker Infineon was the day's big loser, sliding 10.44 percent to 8.15 after several banks lowered their projections for the share.

Elsewhere there were declines of 1.34 percent to 8,478.8 on the Swiss Market Index, 1.32 percent to 500.08 in Amsterdam, and 1.12 percent to 4,060.71 in Brussels.

There were gains of 0.23 percent to 38,535 in Milan and 0.27 percent to 15,769 in Madrid.

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