(Close): Banking firms were the big fallers on Friday on growing fears that the sector may require additional financial support from the government.
The investor unease has been caused by events in the US, specifically the news that Bank of America is to get $20bn of state aid, and big losses at Citigroup.
Barclays was the biggest faller, losing 25%. It was followed by Royal Bank of Scotland, which finished down 13%.
Meanwhile, Lloyds TSB ended 5% lower, and HSBC saw its shares decline 2.2%.
Stocks Snap Winning Streak as Banks Retreat
The profit-taking eclipsed some good news out of the Capitol: The House passed the stimulus bill, handing President Barack Obama the first major legislative victory of his tenure. And government officials have discussed pouring a further $1 trillion to $2 trillion to help backstop the banking system, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. And the Federal Reserve signaled it would keep interest rates near zero for quite “some time” and would continue to use unconventional tools to battle the fallout.
But investors were done with cheering the stimulus, having bought on the run-up. Today, it was sell on the news.
FUNDYS - The lightened holiday trade has come and gone and the markets are back at it in full force on Tuesday with risk aversion and uncertainty emerging early in Asia to prompt fresh broad based USD buying, triggering massive sell-stops below 1.2700 in EUR/USD.