3 Mar 2009

European stocks well down

7:41 am on 3 March 2009

European stocks ended much lower on Monday as banking stocks tumbled after American International Group posted record losses.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares finished 5.2% lower at 682.31 points - the lowest close in six years.

The index is down 14% to date this year after falling 45% in 2008 due to the financial crisis.

Energy stocks also came under severe pressure after crude oil prices fell more than 9%.

Banks were down: Standard Chartered Bank by 11.6%, Lloyds by 15.3%.

HSBC revealed on Monday that it needs nearly $US18 billion in new capital to withstand the financial crisis and announced 6100 job cuts after a collapse in profit.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 3,710.07 points, down 133.67 or 3.48%. In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 2,581.46 points, down 121.02 or 4.48%.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 closed 204.26 points lower, 5.3%, at 3,625.83, extending Friday's losses of 2.2%. The index lost 7.7% last month and is down 18% for the year to date.

The Swiss market closed at 4,438.27 points, down 252.4 or 5.38%.

Other markets

In Tokyo, the Nikkei average slid 288.27 points, 3.81%, to 7,280.15.

Shares closed 3.86% lower in Hong Kong. The Hang Seng Index finished down 494.11 points at 12,317.46 points. A total of HK$36.36 billion worth of shares were traded.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index lost 94.4 points, 2.82%, to close at 3,250.1 - its lowest level since 19 December, 2003. The index was down 5.5% last week.

The All Ordinaries shed 93.1 points, or 2.82% to 3203.8 - its lowest level since 11 December 2003.

In New Zealand, the NZX50 index fell 41 points, or 1.62%, to close at 2481 on turnover of $65 million.

Contact Energy was down 24 cents to $5.71 after opening a $300 milllion bond offer. Telecom fell 12c to $2.30, while Fletcher Building was down 1c at $5.23.