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European stocks finished Friday in the red, as a sharp decline in mining stocks and banks added pressure to the region, while investors kept an eye on oil's fluctuations and individual stock news.
The pan-European STOXX 600 came off session lows, to close down 0.81 percent provisionally. While nearly every sector finished in the red, technology closed flat. On the week, the STOXX 600 sunk even lower, off 1.72 percent.
Meanwhile, Italy's FTSE MIB tumbled over 2 percent, as the country's banks fell to the bottom of Europe's benchmarks.
European markets fell further into the red on Friday afternoon, on the back of weak trade in the U.S., as investors overseas digested the hawkish rhetoric from Federal Reserve officials.
This week, several Fed officials have commented on when might be the best time for the central bank to raise interest rates, especially as the Fed released the minutes from its July meeting on Wednesday. Prior to that release, New York and Atlanta Fed presidents William Dudley and Dennis Lockhart said a September rate hike may be on the table.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, San Francisco Fed President John Williams also signaled support for a rate hike in the near future, saying that waiting too long could be costly for the economy.
Oil prices were another key market mover on Friday, with crude futures coming under pressure in afternoon trade as investors considered the odds of leading producers actually capping their oil outputs in the future. Brent hovered at $50.52, while U.S. crude was at $48.15 a barrel, at Europe's close.
Meanwhile on the currency front, sterling fell 1 percent against the dollar during trade, after media reports emerged that British Prime Minister, Theresa May wanted to trigger Article 50 by next spring. The pound pared some losses in later trade, standing at $1.3064 at Europe's close.
In European business news, the CEO and former Chairman of Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) were reportedly accused of market manipulation and false accounting as the bank readies it 5 billion euro stock sale, Reuters reported. BMPS shares closed down 2.55 percent.
Meanwhile, shares in the lender UniCredit were suspended after falling 5 percent around midday. At the end of trade, the stock finished near the bottom of the STOXX 600, off 6.3 percent. Other Italian banks also closed sharply lower, including Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna, Banca Popolare di Milano and UBI Banca.
Shares of German retailer Metro sank almost 3 percent after Bernstein cut its price target and rating for the stock.
Meanwhile, basic resources was the worst performing sector of the day, with several miners finishing in the red, as weakness in metal prices weighed on sentiment. Glencore sank almost 4 percent.
Shares of British gambling firm William Hill, however, were leading the gains on the STOXX 600, after 888 Holdings and Rank walked away from their merger offer. Liberum raised its price target for the stock after the news. The stock shot up 3.9 percent by the close.
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