European shares tanked on Thursday, after a press conference by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi left investors wanting more details about its asset purchase program.
No QE mention
The pan-European FTSE Eurofirst 300 closed provisionally down 2.2 percent at 1,337.44 points, with all major European bourses in the red.
It came after the ECB decided to keep interest rates unchanged. In the subsequent monthly news conference, Draghi focused on the central bank's asset-purchase program, but disappointed markets by not revealing the size of the program and failing to hint at the introduction of a U.S. Federal Reserve-style quantitative easing.
European bank stocks sustained the heaviest losses, with Italian lenders such as Banco Popolare and BP Emilia particularly hard hit, closing over 5 percent lower.
Global selloff continues
Stocks across the world are being hit by a "risk-off" period with investors opting to load up on so-called safe havens like bonds. Traders have cited a variety of reasons for the negative sentiment, including weak manufacturing data in Europe, especially for Germany, and also the first diagnosis of an Ebola case inside the U.S.
U.S. stocks declined, following Wall Street's worst start to October in three years, hit by the ECB rate decision and an uptick in U.S. jobless claims.
In Asia, stocks also dropped on Thursday as unrest continued in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's pro-democracy rally extended into its seventh day. The city's chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, is reportedly willing to let protests continue for weeks if necessary. The state's markets are closed until Friday, while markets in Shanghai are shut until October 7 for China's national day holiday.
Spanish jobless rises
On the data front, unemployment numbers for Spain showed that the number of those out of work increased by 0.45 percent in September from the month before.
A euro zone producer price index showed factory prices decreasing by 0.1 percent in August from the month before.
Fiat shares rise
In individual stocks news, shares of J Sainsbury closed down after disappointing earnings news in the previous session. Nomura cut its price target on the U.K. supermarket.
Swiss multinational SGS shares also closed down with Credit Suisse cutting their outlook on the firm.