The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.6 percent lower with almost every sector in the red.
Basic resources fell as much as 1.5 percent as global trade concerns are still weighing on sentiment. Banking stocks were also down by more than 1 percent. In particular, UBS shares dropped 2.7 percent after the U.S. Justice Department filed a suit against the bank for investors’ losses linked to mortgage-linked securities prior to the financial crisis.
Spanish lender BBVA was also under pressure, off by more than 5 percent. This was after the announcement of a new bill in Mexico, curbing banks from charging commissions for certain services. Mexico represents about 40 percent of BBVA’s overall net profit, Reuters reported.
The French-based Rubis dropped to the bottom of the European benchmark after posting its latest results and getting a rating downgrade. The stock was down by 10 percent.
The German group Thyssenkrupp dropped nearly 6 percent after cutting its profit outlook for the second time this year.
Apart from corporate news, investors are also tracking a number of political events.
Stateside, the Fed decided to keep rates unchanged but said that it expects “further gradual increases,” which pushed stocks slightly lower. Higher interest rates tend to dent stocks as investors believe companies will have less room for dividends.
Investors are also closely monitoring developments in Italy, after the European Commission said Thursday that Rome’s economic forecasts are not in line with its own calculations. Eurogroup President Mario Centeno is meeting Italy’s finance minister Giovanni Tria at 11.30 GMT.
Meanwhile, in Brexit news, the U.K. government is set to hold critical meetings during the weekend, as European Council President Donald Tusk said Thursday he hopes for a breakthrough within days.
On the data front, there will be balance of trade figures out in the U.K. at 9.30 am London time and GDP numbers also due at the same time.