Eurozone equities have taken a bashing from investors as uncertainties over future economic developments in the bloc have heightened. Anti-austerity protests have also contributed to the marked fall.
Euro area stocks on Wednesday suffered their worst session in about two months amid violent anti-austerity protests in Greece and Spain which highlighted the hurdles the single currency bloc faced in its bid to leave recession behind and get on top of its overborrowing.
Financial stocks were among the biggest losers. A magnitude of weak data and gloomy corporate reports from across the globe also harmed the shares of companies most sensitive to the economic cycle, such as carmakers and producers of basic resources.
"The eurozone crisis has flared up, and this time protests in Madrid and a general strike in Greece have spooked the markets," Forex Analyst Kathleen Brooks told AFP news agency.
Room for interpretation
Stocks in Italy and Portugal plunged by about 3.0 percent, with shares traded in Spain doing even worse. Germany's DAX-30 lost little under 2.0 percent.
Markets across the eurozone slumped not least on the back of remarks by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who told the Wall Street Journal his country might seek international emergency loans if borrowing rates stayed at unsustainable levels.
Some analysts believed, though, the pronounced fall on Wednesday was nothing but a technical readjustment after weeks of rallying. "We have a market that has clearly rebounded, and you have some room for a correction," said Benoit Peloille, an investment strategist with Natrix. "But we think it's not more than that."
hg/msh (Reuters, AFP)