Europe Markets

Europe tumbles over 2% as oil stocks tank

European stock markets closed sharply lower on Friday, posting their biggest weekly loss since August 2011, as commodity prices continued to fall and and shares in oil-related firms came under renewed pressure from the weak price for crude.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 unofficially ended 2.6 percent lower, down 5.9 percent on the week as the energy sector once again weighed heavily on wider benchmarks, falling over 3 percent.

Oil below $60

European markets

Oil majors sink

The oil price continued to fall amid concerns about over-supply and slower-than-expected global growth. The price of U.S. crude oil fell below the $60 mark, while Brent crude hit a five-and-a-half-year low in Asian trading on Friday.

Stocks like Premier Oil and Tullow Oil saw strong selling on Friday morning, with heavyweights like BP, Shell and Total all down around 3 percent at market close.

The broad STOXX Europe 600 has lost 5.2 percent during the week, representing a wipe-out in market capitalization of around $468 billion, according to Reuters.

U.S. stocks declined on Friday, with benchmark indexes headed for sizable weekly losses, as crude's slide continued and after Chinese industrial production came in below expectations.

Ukraine blackhole

Mixed economic data for November from China, where industrial production fell below expectations and retail sales data was slightly higher than expected, also caused concerns about global growth.

European mining stocks, which have heavy exposure to the world's second-largest economy, fell around 3 percent.

Ukraine has also been in focus this week after the International Monetary Fund revealed the civil war-torn country needed an additional $15 billion in funding on top of the $17 billion already agreed by the IMF.

Banks with heavy exposure to the region saw their share price plummet on Friday, with Erste Group losing over 5 percent Austrian lender Raiffeisen down almost 9 percent.

ECB disappoints?

What Santa Rally? Why you should sell the S&P 500
What Santa Rally? Why you should sell the S&P 500

The take-up of the ECB's latest cheap money program, known as TLTROs, met expectations on Thursday, but was still disappointing compared to earlier expectations. The results have left investors contemplating if - or when - the ECB will announce a full scale quantitative easing (QE) program.

On the data front, a final reading of Spanish inflation data confirmed a precious estimate of -0.1 percent in November, compared to the month before. Industrial production figures for the euro zone posted a rise in October, compared to the month before, but narrowly managed to miss analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll.

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