BRUSSELS (Alliance News) - European stocks finished an otherwise strong week on a downbeat note Friday, ending a three-day rally that saw widespread gains across the region.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks lost 0.48%, but posted a weekly advance of 1.43%.
Major markets were cheered this week by robust US jobs growth and dovish talk from central bankers in the US and Europe.
The German DAX lost 0.13% today and the French CAC 40 dropped 0.42%. The UK'sFTSE 100 was virtually unchanged, while Switzerland's SMI slipped 0.18%.
BNP Paribas SA lost 2.2% after Macquarie Group Ltd. downgraded the French lender.
Erste Group plunged 16% in Vienna. The company expects risk costs to rise from the planned 1.7 billion euros to about 2.4 billion euros in 2014 as a result of increased provisions in Hungary and Romania.
Barclays, J.P. Morgan Cazenove and SociÉtÉ GÉnÉrale all downgraded their recommendations on the stock.
Alstom gained 1%. The French stock regulator said, the deal by the French government to acquire a 20% stake in Alstom from Bouygues tantamounts to concerted action. The ruling will make it expensive for Paris to acquire the stake.
Daimler reported strong growth in sales of Mercedes-Benz in the first half of the year. The stock edged higher by 0.34%.
Volkswagen is fractionally lower. Sports-car maker Porsche, owned by the auto giant, Thursday said it increased its stake in engineering group Bertrandt AG by nearly four percentage points to about 29%. Shares were little changed.
Antofagasta was raised to ''Equalweight'' from ''Underweight'' at Morgan Stanley. The stock picked up 0.8%.
easyJet added 1% after reporting traffic data. The airline carried 8.3 million passengers in June, a rise of 5% from the year earlier.
Xchanging, which announced an acquisition, rose 10%.