Banks hit hard as European shares tumble on Ukraine tensions

lunes 3 de marzo de 2014 04:44 GYT

* Banks among worst performers as Ukraine tensions escalate

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1.6 pct

* ESTOXX 50 falls 2 pct

* Some traders see Ukraine resolution in coming weeks

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

PARIS, March 3 (Reuters) - Escalating tensions in Ukraine hit European equity markets on Monday, with banking stocks among the worst performers due to concerns about some lenders' exposure to the region.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which rose 16 percent last year, fell 1.6 percent to 1,326.94 points in early trading, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index dropped 2 percent to 3,086.95 points.

A fall in banking and financial shares took the most points off the FTSEurofirst 300 index, with the STOXX Europe 600 Banking Index weakening by 2 percent.

Banks exposed to Ukraine and Russia - which are in conflict over the political direction of Ukraine - were among the hardest hit stocks on the FTSEurofirst 300 index, with Austria's Raiffeisen slumping 6.4 percent while France's Societe Generale fell 4.6 percent.   Continuación...