Investing.com - European stocks remained sharply lower on Monday, as growing tensions between Ukraine and Russia continued to weigh broadly on risk sentiment, while markets eyed a speech by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi later in the day.
During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 tumbled 2.40%, France’s CAC 40 lost 2.43%, while Germany’s DAX 30 plummeted 2.95%.
Market sentiment weakened amid fears over the unfolding crisis in the Ukraine, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops into the Crimea region over the weekend.
The move sparked fears that the West will impose economic sanctions against Russia. Russia’s central bank hiked interest rates from 5.5% to 7% on Monday, after the rouble fell to new record lows against the euro and dollar.
Markets were also jittery after official data on Saturday showed that China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to an eight-month low in February, adding to fears over a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale plummeted 3.13% and 5.95%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank tumbled 2.22%.
Among peripheral lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit plunged 1.96% and 3.43% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander lost 2.05% and 2.16%.
Elsewhere, Bouygues SA plummeted 2.09% following reports the French construction and telecommunications company is planning a bid for Vivendi SA’s phone carrier SFR.
Roche lost 2.36% after Genentech, a unit of the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, said an independent data monitoring committee recommended that the Phase III METLung study of the lung cancer treatment be halted as it didn’t show any clinical benefits.
In London, FTSE 100 retreated 1.89%, as U.K. lenders continued to track their European counterparts sharply lower, while yhe Markit U.K. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for February came in at 56.9, up from a revised 56.6 in January.
Shares in HSBC Holdings and Barclays tumbled 1.51% and 1.89% respectively, while Lloyds Banking lost 2.37% and the Royal Bank of Scotland plunged 2.59%.
Meanwhile, mining stocks were mixed as Glencore Xstrata edged declined 1.43% and Rio Tinto plunged 2.56%, while Fresnillo rallied 1.26% and Randgold Resources continued to lead gains on the index, surging 4.24%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.74% drop, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.08% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.87% loss.
Later in the day, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is to speak in the European Parliament in Brussels.