24 Feb 2009

European stocks at six-year lows

8:12 am on 24 February 2009

European shares hit a six-year closing low on Monday.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.9%lower at 729.39 points. The index is down 12% this year after plunging 45% in 2008.

Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, fell to a new all-time low over the way its top executives handled a probe into tax fraud in the United States. UBS shares closed 9% lower.

Other banks also fell sharply: Deutsche Bank was more than 5% lower, Credit Suisse down 5.2% and Dexia 12%.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 3,936.45 points, down 78.21 or 1.95%.

In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 2,727.87 points, down 22.68 or 0.82%. The Swiss market index closed at 4,797.12 points, down 54.09 or 1.11%.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 closed 38.33 points lower, 1%, at 3,850.73.

The index closed below the 4000 mark on Friday for the first time in three months and is down more than 13% to date this year.