US, European stocks weighed down by banking woes

NEW YORK, Sept 17 (APP/AFP) – US and European stock markets retreated on Friday, as banking shares led by Deutsche Bank slumped on news US authorities were
hunting down Germany’s biggest lender over a record fine.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 was the hardest hit, closing down 1.5 percent, while the Paris CAC 40 shed nearly 1.0 percent from Thursday.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index lost 0.3 percent, while the S&P 500 in the US shed 0.4 percent.

The US Justice Department is seeking up to $14 billion (12.5 billion euros) from Deutsche Bank to resolve allegations stemming from the sale of mortgage securities in the 2008 crisis, the German financial giant confirmed.

It added that the DoJ had invited the bank to submit a counter offer, and said it expected to reach a “materially lower” figure in negotiations.

But the news hammered Deutsche Bank shares, which sank 8.5 percent to close at 11.99 euros in Frankfurt.

The US action was also felt across Europe’s banking sector, with shares in Royal Bank of Scotland in London shedding 4.4 percent, and in Paris, French lender Societe Generale slid 2.7 percent.

The Deutsche enforcement comes as European banks already faced a tough profit outlook due to ultra-low and negative interest rates.

Banking shares were also among the weak points on Wall Street. Wells Fargo dropped 1.6 percent after the House Financial Services Committee became the latest entity to announce an investigation into allegations that the huge US bank fraudulently opened millions of unauthorized customer accounts. The panel plans hearings this month.

Citigroup lost 1.4 percent following a downgrade by Goldman Sachs.