European Markets Close Lower On Concerns Over Potential Banking Crisis

Despite some troubled U.S. and European banks securing some lifelines, European stocks closed lower on Friday as worries about a potential banking crisis rendered the mood quite bearish.

The pan European Stoxx 600 ended 1.21% down. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 1.01%, Germany's DAX fell 1.33% and France's CAC 40 dropped 1.43%, while Switzerland's SMI shed 0.98%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Turkiye ended with sharp to moderate losses.

Iceland and Russia posted gains, while Czech Republic ended flat.

In the UK market, BT Group tumbled more than 6%. ABRDN ended 5.55% down. Hiscox, Ocado Group, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Prudential, Smurfit Kappa Group, Legal & General Group, Melrose Industries and Aviva ended lower by 3 to 5%.

Persimmon, HSBC Holdings, Mondi, Beazley, Kingfisher, Next, Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Chartered and B&M European Value Retail lost 2.5 to 3%.

Endeavour Mining, Glencore, Fresenillo, Imperial Brands, Anglo American Plc and GSK gained 1 to 2.5%.

In Paris, Renault ended nearly 5% down. Engie, Veolia, BNP Paribas, AXA, Publicis Groupe, Hermes International, Airbus Group, Saint Gobain, Carrefour and Credit Agricole lost 2 to 3%.

In the German market, Siemens Energy, Commerzbank, Vonovia, Continental, RWE, E.ON, Siemens, Puma, Munich RE, Hannover Rueck, MTU Aero Engines, HeidelbergCement, Allianz and Volkswagen lost 2 to 4.5%.

Covestro and Infineon Technologies ended sharply higher. Siemens Healthineers, Deutsche Post and Bayer posted modest gains.

On the economic front, Eurozone harmonized prices logged a slower increase in February, while core inflation accelerated to a record as estimated initially. The underlying inflation is likely to remain sticky with wage growth gaining strength towards the end of 2022.

The harmonized index of consumer prices, or HICP, increased 8.5 percent on a yearly basis. That was slightly slower than the 8.6% gain in January, final data from Eurostat showed. The rate also matched the initial estimate published on March 2.

Meanwhile, core inflation that excludes the volatile prices of energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, accelerated to a record 5.6%, matching the preliminary estimate, from 5.3% in January.

On a monthly basis, the HICP gained 0.8% in February, which also matched the initial estimate.

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