13 Sep 2011

Europe debt jitters push stocks down

9:26 am on 13 September 2011

European stock markets have fallen to two-year lows amid mounting fears about the prospect of a Greek debt default.

Markets in France, Germany and Britain all dropped sharply on Monday.

The biggest losses were sustained by French banks as investors worried about their exposure to Greek and Italian debt.

BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Credit Agricole were reportedly expecting an imminent decision from Moody's credit rating agency, which first put them under review for possible downgrade on 15 June, Reuters reports.

The European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 2.7% after earlier slumping to its lowest since July 2009. The index has lost more than 20% in 2011.

British shares dropped 1.6%, stocks fell 2.3% on Germany's main index, and shares in France tumbled 4%.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.63%, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.1%.