Europe's main stock markets slid at the start of trading on Friday, with bank shares the biggest fallers after Moody's credit ratings agency downgraded some of the world's biggest lenders.
The health of 15 of the world's largest financial institutions has been called into serious question after Moody's downgraded their credit ratings, citing risk exposure and the eurozone crisis.
Some of the biggest names in banking -- including Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC and Deutsche Bank -- saw their ratings slashed on Thursday after the close of US markets, spelling increased investor scrutiny and potentially higher borrowing costs for lenders.
At the open on Friday, HSBC shares fell 0.6 percent and Barclays slid 2.0 percent in London.
The US Federal Reserve's light-touch stimulus on Wednesday also weighed on share prices with concerns it would not be enough to boost the stuttering economy.
Source: AFP Global Edition