European stocks fluctuated during the day and finished slightly down snapping a nine session winning streak.
Of the region’s biggest bourses, London closed ahead but Frankfurt and Paris both ending the day in negative territory. Shares came under pressure after data showed that US consumer confidence dropped in late July to its lowest reading since April. Banks were strong performers, particularly in the UK as Britain’s poor GDP figures boosted expectations that the Bank of England could yet add more stimulus to the economy. Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and HSBC gained. Technology stocks were hit by Microsoft and Amazon’s disappointing results and gloomy comments from Ericsson. Ericsson slumped 7.7 percent after reporting the economic downturn was now taking a bigger toll on its market. Oil prices were volatile but touched a three week high, helped by the higher share prices and falling supplies of petrol in the US where refiners have suffered unplanned outages.