France eased a ban on short selling bank shares in an attempt to calm index futures traders who were concerned that this rule would keep them from exchanging contracts when they expire today.

According to the AMF, France's financial regulator Investors who are short index futures that include bank shares can replace the holdings with new contracts today.

After Societe General SA, the nation's second-biggest bank, plunged the most since 2008, France prohibited new short positions on financial stocks last week.

Rules in the original ban designed to quash synthetic positions in which traders bet again banks by buying every non-financial stock it contains and shorting an index, added to concerns yesterday and contributed in the volatility, when European stocks plunged the most since March 2009.