HSBC Drags Europe to Weak Close

European shares closed lower on Friday, as investors remained cautious following a volatile session in Asia, and a weak start to U.S. trade.


The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed 0.2 percent lower at 1,227.11 points, in its second consecutive day of losses.

Stocks in autos, banks and technology pressured the index as they continued Thursday's sell-off.

In particular, U.K. bank HSBC, led shares lower, closing down around 2.10 percent. Reuters cited concerns that the bank's $1.9 billion money laundering settlement could be rejected by U.S. authorities; HSBC declined to comment.

"HSBC is focused on taking all necessary steps to fulfil obligations under the agreements with the U.S. and U.K. governments, and on implementing effective global standards across the HSBC network," the bank told CNBC.

Weak Chinese data and fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve may begin to taper its asset-purchasing program earlier than expected were enough to send markets into a tailspin on Thursday and volatility remained high in Asia on Friday.

(Read More: Japan's Nikkei Goes on Wild Ride for Second Day)