European stocks closed lower on Friday as a sell-off in the tech sector continued for a second consecutive trading session.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended down 1.1%, having fluctuated throughout the day. Technology stocks led the losses, down 2.6%, while Europe’s banking index jumped 1.6%.
Markets had looked to be rebounding from Thursday’s tumble stateside but ran out of steam as the session progressed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday plunged 521 points, or 2.8%, to record its steepest single-day losses since June, while the S&P 500 plunged 3.5% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5%.
Tech mega stocks Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet and Facebook led the losses with the broad tech sector posting its worst day since March, having driven much of Wall Street’s recovery in recent months. U.S. stocks extended losses on Friday.
Thursday’s losses spilled over into Asia Pacific trading overnight, with Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 falling more than 3% on Friday while tech stocks fueled declines of more than 1% for the majority of Asian markets.
Back in Europe, the EU is considering fresh sanctions on Russia following the poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny, once the specific culprits have been properly identified, Reuters reported citing executive and diplomatic sources.
U.S. Labor Department figures Friday showed that nonfarm payrolls increased by 1.37 million in August, outstripping the 1.32 million expected and sending the unemployment rate tumbling to 8.4% as the world’s largest economy looks to recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
Banks leading the charge
Spain’s Caixabank and Bankia announced Thursday that they have entered merger talks to create Spain’s largest bank. Caixabank shares jumped more than 14% in early trade, while compatriot lender Banco de Sabadell surged more than 12%. Spain’s Bankinter added 6% and Germany’s Commerzbank jumped 9%.
At the bottom of the European blue-chip index, Norwegian online marketplace Adevinta fell 5.4%.