The European markets fell for the second day on Monday, as energy and mining stocks slipped after crude oil and copper prices dropped.
Eurozone employment registered a record decline in the first quarter, data showed today. According to the European Union statistics agency Eurostat, the number of employed persons decreased 0.8% or by 1.22 million in the first three months of the year from the fourth quarter of 2008. This was the largest decline on record. In the fourth quarter, the decrease was only 0.4%. Compared to the first quarter of 2008, employment dropped 1.2% after remaining stable in the fourth quarter.
Crude for July delivery fell $2.07 to $69.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed, helped by a stronger dollar.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 2.53% lower at 863.34 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 2.54% to 2,136.51 points.
Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index fell 2.61% to 4,326.01, while France's CAC 40 index slipped 3.20% to 3,219.58 and Germany's DAX index dropped 3.54% to 4,889.94.
Heavily weighted oil stocks slipped after crude oil prices dropped for the second consecutive day. BP, Europe's biggest oil company, fell 2.1%, while Royal/Dutch Shell, the second biggest, dropped 4.2% and Total, the third biggest, dipped 3%.
Similarly, mining stocks edged lower after copper prices retreated in London. BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, slipped 2.8%, while Anglo American, the second biggest, fell 2.1% and Rio Tinto, the third biggest, dropped 6.9%. Copper miner Antofagasta lost 6%.
Lonmin, the world's third biggest platinum producer, tumbled 9.8% after the company said it was shutting a furnace in South Africa because of a leak.
Financial stocks lost ground after the European Central Bank said euro zone banks face potential further writedowns of $283 billion through 2010, while euro area insurance companies may face significant balance sheet stress due to financial market turbulence and weak economies.
HSBC, Europe's largest bank, fell 3.1%, while UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, slipped 5.6% and Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, dropped 5.8%. Barclays, Britain's third largest bank, lost 4.5%.
Allianz, Europe's biggest insurer, slid 3.3% and AXA , the region's second biggest, sank 4.3%.
TomTom, Europe's largest largest maker of car-navigation devices, dropped 5.1% after the company said it plans to raise ?430 million selling shares.
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