Recession fears hit European shares; banks slip

Recession fears hit European shares; banks slip

London: European shares fell in morning trade on Tuesday, as commodity stocks slipped tracking a retreat in metals and crude prices and banks weakened on concerns about a deep global recession in major economies.

By 3:10pm (IST), the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 1.9% at 820.8 points after being as high as 843.21 points earlier in the session.

News that British annual consumer price inflation tumbled to 4.5% in October from 5.2% the previous month did little to lift the mood.

“Encouraging news is the CPI’s fallen quite sharply. Even more encouraging is that core inflation has come down and that leaves the door open for a bigger cut than we’re currently expecting at the bank’s December meeting, which is 50 basis points," said George Buckly, chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank.

Banks were the biggest weighted fallers on the index. HSBC, Banco Santander, BNP Paribas and Dexia were down 2.3-7.3%.

Miners were in the doldrums as the copper price retreated 1.63%. Lonmin was down 8.7% after the group’s CEO said he expected the market outlook to remain challenging and saw no material recovery in metals prices until 2010 at earliest.

Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata were down 3.4 to 9%.

Energy stocks fell from earlier gains after crude fell back 0.7% BG Group, Royal Dutch Shell and BP were down 0.8-1.8%.

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 index was down 1.9%, Germany’s DAX was 1.9% lower and France’s CAC 40 fell 2%.