Forex Pros - European stock markets were broadly lower on Thursday, after Moody's downgraded Spain's government-bond rating, while U.S. futures indexes pointed to a downbeat open on Wall Street.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 dropped 0.74%, France's CAC 40 slumped 0.68%, while Germany's DAX fell 0.69%.
Earlier in the day, Moody's downgraded Spain's government-bond rating by one notch to Aa2 from Aa1 and assigned it a negative outlook, saying the country's bank restructuring will cost more than the government currently expects, "leading to a further increase in the public-debt ratio."
Following the news, Spain's largest lender Banco Santander saw shares drop 2%, rival BBVA saw shares drop 1.8%, while Italy's biggest bank Unicredit slumped 1.45%.
Meanwhile, shares in chip manufacturers performed poorly after the world's second largest chip maker Texas Instruments lowered its current-quarter earnings outlook on Wednesday, citing weaker-than-expected demand for chips used in personal computers.
Europe's largest chip producer STMicroelectronics saw shares slide 2.8%, Infineon Technologies dropped 2%, while ARM Holdings saw shares plunge 6.9%.
In London, the commodity heavy FTSE 100 declined 0.73% with miners leading losses after metal prices retreated.
The world's largest mining group BHP Billiton saw shares drop 2.9%, shares in rival Rio Tinto lost 3.1%, while silver producer Fresnillo saw shares tumble 3.3%.
Meanwhile, shares in Scotland's largest insurance and investment group Standard Life plunged 4.6% after it reported 2010 earnings results that fell short of market expectations.
However, shares in pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline added 1.5% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its new drug to treat lupus.
The outlook for U.S. equity markets, meanwhile, was downbeat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a drop of 0.36%, S&P 500 futures indicated a loss 0.49%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 0.68%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish a key weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as data on the country's trade balance.
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