- German export figures down
- Spain downgraded by Fitch
- Reports Spain may request emergency aid from Eurozone partners on Saturday
Stoxx 600: -0.39%
Ibex 35: +1.74%
FTSE MIB: -0.74%
News of a ratings downgrade of Spain and the suspicion the country may very soon seek emergency aid from its Eurozone partners saw most European stock markets decline through Friday.
German exports fell 1.7% between March and April, against market expectations of a decline of just 0.7%.
Last night Fitch announced Spain’s credit rating was to be downgraded to BBB, just two notches above junk status. The firm believes Spanish banks may need an injection of EUR100bn to remain solvent, a sum which the cash strapped central government can ill afford.
Several sources report that Spain may formally request emergency assistance at a conference call of Eurozone finance ministers on Saturday, if so it would become the fourth euro area country to seek financial aid.
The strongest sector on the Stoxx Europe 600 was utilities, up 1.6%; the weakest sector was basic resources which fell 3%.
Swedish fashion firm Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) fell 0.6% after analysts at Societe Generale cut their forecast for the stock.
Finnish mobile phone firm Nokia gained 6% on rumours it may be a takeover target for Microsoft.
By 16:58 in London the euro was down 0.61% against the dollar at $1.2483.
Futures contracts for front month delivery of Brent crude had dropped 2% by 16:55 to $97.9 per barrel.