Oil prices remain volatile. On Wednesday they rose in response to a surprise decision by OPEC to cut production by just over half a million barrels a day and then they fell with Brent crude below $100 a barrel, the lowest price in five months.
European stocks closed down for a second day running on Wednesday.
Investors were influenced by lowered economic growth forecasts from the European Commission and they remained jittery about the financial sector off the back of Lehman Brothers huge quarterly loss.
The region’s banks suffered; Natixis falling 6%, Credit Agricole losing 4.8%, Dexia down 4.2%, Royal Bank of Scotland dropping 3.6%, Barclays slipping 5.3% and UBS shedding more than 4%.
Mining companies’ shares also slipped on negative market sentiment and a decline in metals prices.