Investing.com - European stocks opened lower on Friday, as market sentiment weakened broadly after an airplane crash in Ukraine sparked fresh concerns over tensions in the region.
During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 slumped 0.37%, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.29%, while Germany’s DAX declined 0.71%.
Market sentiment was hit after a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed in eastern Ukraine overnight. All 298 people on board were killed, sharply raising the stakes in a conflict between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels in which Russia and the West back opposing sides.
The crash came a day after the U.S. and the European Union announced a fresh round of sanctions against Russia, following the annexation of Crimea in April and ongoing tensions in the rest of Ukraine. The U.S. package was the largest round of penalties so far.
Markets were also jittery after Israel announced late Thursday the start of a ground campaign in Gaza after 10 days of aerial and naval bombardments failed to stop Palestinian rocket attacks.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) slid 0.40% and 0.19%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) declined 0.41%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) dropped 0.22% and 0.54% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) fell 0.12% and 0.47%.
Elsewhere, Hermes Intl (PARIS:HRMS) saw shares plunge 3.01% after the luxury retailer reported second-quarter sales below market estimates as the weakness of the yen and a Japanese sales-tax increase weighed on growth.
On the upside, Ericsson (ST:ERICAs) surged 8.13% after the maker of wireless networks reported second-quarter sales and profit margins that exceeded estimates, supported by contracts in China and the Middle East.
In London, FTSE 100 retreated 0.56%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts lower.
Shares in Barclays (LONDON:BARC) slid 0.32% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) declined 0.47%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) lost 0.72% and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) tumbled 1.32%.
Bloomberg reported earlier that Britain''s banks are set to face an inquiry into competition in the industry as regulators step up their scrutiny of small-business lending.
Mining stocks added to losses, as Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) slumped 0.52% and Fresnillo (LONDON:FRES) dropped 0.89%, while rivals Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) plummeted 1.14% and 1.72% respectively.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady to lower open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.14% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.02% dip, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.02% downtick.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release preliminary data from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment.
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