European markets fell on Friday after the biggest three-day winning streak since April pushed stock valuations to their highest point since 2009.
Erste Group Bank AG suffered its biggest lost since February 2009 after projecting a full-year loss. BNP Paribas SA fell 2.1% after its stock got downgraded by Macquarie Group Ltd. JC Decaux SA soared 0.9% after HSBC Holdings hiked its recommendation on the stock.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed down 0.3% to 347.95. The measure added 2.1% in three days through Thursday as US employment data beat economists’ projections.
“We’re seeing a pause in European markets today. With the very good economic news from the U.S., investors should turn more positive, but I would expect some profit taking when the earnings season begins. Valuations are attractive compared with other markets, but earnings don’t grow that much,” Pierre Mouton of Geneva-based Notz, Stucki& Pie told Bloomberg.
National stocks gauges lost in 16 of the 18 markets in Western Europe on Friday. CAC 40 of France fell 0.5% while the FTSE 100 of UK added less than 0.1%. DAX of Germany dropped 0.2%.
Raiffeisen Bank International AG dropped 4.1% to 23.50 euros. KBC Groep NV went down 2.8% to 40.58 euros. Based in Brussels, the bank raked in 38% of its revenue in 2011 from markets in Russia and central and Eastern Europe.
BNP plunged to 50.20 euros after its stock was downgraded by Macquarie Group to Neutral from outperform. A fine of $8.97 billion for non-compliance with US sanctions saw lenders change their view of the lender as safe from regulatory exposure, according to a note by analysts Piers Brown and Chantal Sirisena.
As Reuters reported, many traders maintained optimism that stocks would soar towards the end of 2014, buoyed by a background of solid growth in US jobs and the European Central Bank’s economic stimulus policy.
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