Eurofirst 3 percent lower than at year’s start

European equities markets were down on Tuesday as investors continued to worry about the possibility of more hikes in interest rates and how such increases would impact global economic growth. The Eurofirst 300 was down 2.1 percent to 1,238,73. It has dropped 11.9 percent since it reached its peak for the year on May 9, and is nearly 3 percent lower than it was at the beginning of 2006. Contributing to the declines were losses in the oil and steel sectors.

In the steel sector, ThyssenKrupp was down 3.5 percent to €23.26, while Salzgitter dropped 5.9 percent to €55.75 and Rautaruukki fell 7.6 percent to €19.43. In the oil sector, Norsk Hydro was down 5.6 percent to NKr144.

Stock exchange operators were also down on the day. Deutsche Borse fell 5.3 percent to €94.41 after a report that it was getting ready to add to the cash portion of its offer for Euronext. Euronext, meanwhile, declined by 7.9 percent to €63.90 after shares in the New York Stock Exchange dropped for two straight sessions, sending the value of its offer in cash and shares for Euronext lower.

Among banks, Credit Agricole was down 3.2 percent to €26.77 after it made a bid for Greek bank Emporiki, which added 5.8 percent on the announcement of the offer. Elsewhere, Austrian bank Raiffeisen International declined by 5.7 percent to €58.10.

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