European shares end down on banks, Greek worries

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – European shares fell on Wednesday, with banks the main drag following poor quarterly results from Spanish lender BBVA (BBVA.MC: ) and investor concerns over Greece’s fiscal problems.

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of leading European shares provisionally closed down 0.9 percent at 1,013.64 points. The index is down around 3 percent so far this month and is on track to post its worst monthly performance since the recovery started in March.

Banks featured among the worst performers. BBVA fell 6.4 percent after it said its bad loans ratio rose nearly one percentage point in the fourth quarter from the third.

Banco Santander (SAN.MC: ), HSBC (HSBA.L: ) and Barclays (BARC.L: ) lost 1.6 to 5.1 percent, while Greek banks Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT: ), Bank of Piraeus (BOPr.AT: ) and National Bank of Greece (NBGr.AT: ) fell 5.6 to 7.9 percent.

“We cannot hold the gains which is not a good sign … Greece is a great problem,” said Giuseppe-Guido Amato, strategist at Lang & Schwarz in Frankfurt.

“If the uncertainty related to Greece is increasing then you see the dollar firm against the bunds. The strengthening of the dollar is correlated with falling markets.”

The dollar rose to a six-month high against the euro on concerns over Greece’s fiscal problems, while the spread of the 10-year Greek bond yield over benchmark German Bunds rose to its highest since Greece adopted the euro currency in 2001.

Investors sentiment was knocked after Greece denied press reports it had chosen Goldman Sachs (GS.N: ) to sell up to 25 billion euros ($35 billion) of bonds to China.

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(Reporting by Joanne Frearson)

European shares end down on banks, Greek worries