European shares extend losses, French banks plunge

August 10, 2011 17:40


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LONDON - European shares fell further in late trade on Wednesday as French bank Societe Generale sank to its lowest level in 2-1/2 years.

The steep fall in SocGen's shares, its biggest one day percentage fall in 23 years, was initially attributed by traders to concerns that France might lose its triple-A credit rating.

However, its share price continued to drop even after all three major ratings agencies had confirmed France's triple-A rating. That prompted new rumours to emerge about the outlook of the bank. SocGen was not immediately available for comment.

SocGen fell more than 21 percent at one point to as low as 20.16 euros, its weakest since March 2009.

BNP Paribas lost 12.5 percent and Credit Agricole was down more than 16 percent, while the European banking sector sank 7 percent.

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