European stocks fell the most in nearly 18 months Thursday as the Federal Reserve showed willingness to curtail bond purchases this year and maybe end the program next year if the U.S. economy improves.
The benchmark Stoxx European 600 sank 2.96 percent to 283.71, the biggest drop since November 2011.
The benchmark gauge has declined 8.5 percent since May 22, when Bernanke indicated the central bank could pare stimulus measures as the economy grows. The U.S. jobless rate will fall as low as 6.5 percent next year from 7.6 percent in May, the Fed forecast yesterday.
Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke’s comments spurred a massive sell-off across the world in most equity markets and commodities. Germany’s DAX slid 3.3 percent and France’s CAC 40 lost 3.6 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 retreated 2.98 percent.
STOXX 50 ended down by 3.63% at 2586.45 points.
CAC 40 Index
The French benchmark index was covered in red by closing, down by 140.41 points or 3.66% to close at 3698.93. The index opened at 3777.06 recording a high of 3783.20 and a low of 3696.45. Within the index, all 40 shares were lower
The worst performing shares in terms of subtracted value for the index were led by Renault SA as it plummeted 6.75% to end at €43.49; following was Carrefour as it shed 6.06% to settle at €20.635, while coming in third was Kering which slumped 5.94% to close at €152.75.
German equities dropped today as well, as the benchmark index DAX 30 ended lower by 268.60 points or 3.28% to close at 7928.48. The index opened at 8085.67 recording a high of 8085.67 and a low of 7911.96. Within the index, 29 ended lower and 1 ended higher.
Lagging shares leading the index lower where driven by Infineon Technologies AG that plummeted 5.75% to €6.442; following was Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) AG as it lost 4.83% to settle at €66.43 and then came Allianz SE which retreated 4.82% to €109.55.
FTSE 100 Index
The British benchmark index ended the day also in the red to settle at 6159.51 down by 189.31 points or 2.98%. The index opened the day at 6348.82 setting the high of 8348.82 and the low of 8144.98. Among the listed shares, all 101 shares were down.
Lagging shares were led by Polymetal International Plc where it ended down by 11.96%, closing at £541.00; following was Fresnillo Plc which shed 960.50% to close at £960.50 and Aberdeen Asset Management Plc which slipped 7.88% to close at £386.50.