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Europe: Banks drag shares down as investors eye BoE, ECB meetings

[LONDON] Weakness in bank stocks dragged European shares to a downbeat open on Thursday as financial sectors caught the cold from US and Asian trading which suffered from a less hawkish than expected tone from the US Federal Reserve.

Despite the Fed's rate rise which is a boost to lenders, banks were the worst-performing sector in Europe as cautious comments from Chair Janet Yellen on persistently low inflation shook investors' confidence in financial stocks.

They dragged Europe's STOXX 600 down 0.2 per cent, while euro zone blue chips fell 0.1 per cent. Italy's FTSE MIB rose 0.3 per cent following heavy losses in the previous session due to resurfacing political worries.

Banks HSBC, Santander, Credit Suisse and UBS were the biggest drags to the STOXX.

Attention turned to Europe's central bank meetings later on Thursday with the Bank of England and European Central Bank both expected to keep rates on hold.


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