European shares finished down one percent, mirroring Wall Street on news of an unexpected decline in activity in the US service sector in July.
Services account for 90 percent of the US economy and the figures, along with worse than expected private-sector jobs losses in the US, increased investors’ concern about the strength of the economic recovery. That, plus a build up in stockpiles of crude, pulled down oil prices which in turn caused energy companies shares to slide. Investors were though encouraged by better than forecast results from bank Societe Generale, Europe’s second largest insurer Axa and sports equipment firm Adidas. Airlines rose sharply after British Airways and US carriers said they carried more passengers in July.