Banks Slide to End 5-Day Europe Winning Run
European shares ended a five-day winning streak on Monday as a slump in Barclays after a shareholder sold warrants in the company resulted in it leading both financial stocks and the broader market lower.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed down 0.6 percent at 1,103.97 points, giving up some ground after rising 4 percent last week. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also fell 0.6 percent to 2,542.30 points.
The STOXX Europe 600 banking index was Europe's worst-performing equity sector, down 1.3 percent. British bank Barclays led fallers, down 5.4 percent after Qatar cashed in its warrants, resulting in the sale of some 300 million Barclays shares.
Traders said persistent worries over the European political response to its debt crisis — with separatist parties from Catalonia winning regional elections in Spain and a deal to finance Greece yet to be agreed — would also peg back equities in coming weeks.
"We're not taking on too much risk at the current point. I do think last week's rally was overdone and the upside is limited," said Central Markets senior trader Joe Neighbour.
Neighbour said he had sold Germany's DAX market at 7,300 points and was considering taking out a "short" position on the banking sector — namely betting on further falls in bank stocks.
London's FTSE 100 index was largely unmoved by the surprise naming of Canadian central bank chief Mark Carney as the next Bank of England Governor.