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22 Mar 2021 | 08:41

Europe open: Stocks lower on Turkish lira crisis, summer holiday fears

(Sharecast News) - European shares opened the week in downbeat mood as the plunging Turkish lira and weak travel stocks hit markets. The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.25% by 0846 GMT having been 0.5% lower at the opening.

Sentiment was battered as the Turkish lira fell to a record low after President Tayyip Erdogan replaced a hawkish central bank governor with a critic of high interest rates over the weekend.

Euro zone banks exposed to the country such as Spain's BBVA, Italy's UniCredit, France's BNP Paribas, and Dutch bank ING fell between 1.6% and 5.2%.

Travel stocks also dropped fell on reports Germany was ready to extend a lockdown to stymie the Covid-19 pandemic and UK officials warned against summer holidays in an effort to consolidate the interim success of Britain's vaccination rollout.

Budget carrier easyJet fell 7.3%, Ryainair followed suit, down 5.9%, Deutsche Lufthansa, TUI, Carnival and Aeroports de Paris.

The UK's FTSE 100, down 0.41%, was also hit by supply problems with AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine and the threat of an EU block on exports of the drug amid an ongoing row over contracts with the Anglo-Swedish firm.

British home improvement retailer Kingfisher rose 3.6% after it reported a sharp rise in full-year profit, driven by the popularity of do-it-yourself projects.
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