Investing.com - European stocks were sharply lower on Friday, as concerns over fresh tensions between Ukraine and Russia dampened market sentiment, overshadowing comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday.
During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 slid 0.51%, France’s CAC 40 shed 0.34%, while Germany’s DAX retreated 0.84%.
Markets were jittery after Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels on Thursday. In response, Russia launched army drills near the border, sparking fears its troops would invade.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was drawing closer to imposing more sanctions on Moscow.
European equities had strengthened on Thursday after ECB President Draghi said the bank could launch a "broad-based" asset purchase program if the medium-term inflation outlook worsened.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PARIS) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PARIS) declined 0.41% and 1.31%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) tumbled 1.70%.
Deutsche Bank came under pressure following reports it is considering selling about €5 billion of shares to raise capital levels.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) and Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) retreated 0.77% and 1.44% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (SAN.MADRID) and BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) slid 0.76% and 0.80%.
In earnings news, Philips Kon (PHG.AMS) reported first-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates, sending shares in the Dutch phone company down 1.31%.
Tele2 (TEL2As.BS) also moved sharply lower, tumbling 1.28%, after releasing sales and profit figures that trailed market projections.
On the upside, Electrolux (ELUXa.ST) jumped 1.97% after posting earnings that exceeded estimates and increasing its forecast for European demand growth.
In London, FTSE 100 shed 0.34%, led by Astrazeneca (AZN.LONDON), down 2.26%, a day after the U.K.''s second biggest drugmaker reported first-quarter profit that missed analysts'' estimates.
Financial stocks were also mostly lower, as Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LONDON) dropped 0.91% and Barclays (BARC.LONDON) lost 1.09%, while HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LONDON) plummeted 1.46%. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LONDON) overperformed however, adding 0.21%.
In the mining sector, stocks were broadly on the downside. Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.LONDON) and Bhp Billiton (BLT.LONDON) slipped 0.22% and 0.16% respectively, while rivals Polymetal (POLYP.LONDON) and Vedanta Resources (VED.LONDON) dropped 0.82% and 1.42%.
Meanwhile, Tate & Lyle (TATE.LONDON) led gains on the index, with shares surging 3.55%, boosted by reports the Bermuda-based food processing company Bunge could be on the verge of launching a £3.9billion for the food ingredients group.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.24% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.15% slip, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.17% loss.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release revised data on consumer sentiment.