European Markets End Lower, Banking Stocks Slip
The major European indexes closed in the red Friday as fresh record highs in the price of oil and a soaring euro versus the dollar gave rise to economic concerns. Banking stocks were among the worst performers, with the Dow Jones STOXX banking index down 1 percent.
In the U.K., shares of Northern Rock finished 8.6 percent lower following the surprise resignation of the bank's chairman Matt Ridley. The troubled mortgage lender said Ridley would be replaced by Bryan Sanderson, former chairman of Standard Chartered.
And, shares of WPP were also among the worst performers on the FTSE-100 index after the advertising and marketing services group reported third-quarter revenue below analyst's expectations. Comparable revenue grew nearly 5 percent, less than analysts' expectations of 5.5 percent.
And HSBC slipped 2.1 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported a U.S. real-estate fund is suing the company, alleging HSBC's mortgage trading operation took advantage of the credit crisis to profit at the expense of the fund.
Shares in France Telecom finished flat on a lower CAC-40 index following a report from Belgian daily De Tijd that it is considering its options regarding its stake in Belgian mobile phone provider Mobistar.
The Frankfurt DAX also ended in the red.
In economic news, EU leaders agreed to a new "reform treaty" at a two-day summit held in Lisbon.
In addition, Friday also marked the 20th anniversary of Black Monday, a day in 1987 when global stock markets crashed, with the Dow closing down by 22.6 percent.