European stocks ended the session down for a third straight day on Friday after some choppy trading. Volume was thin coming up to the holidays. The region’s markets did perk up a bit after the US carmakers’ rescue plan was announced, but the effect did not last.
Energy companies were under renewed pressure along with oil prices. Mining companies were also poor performers as copper prices slid. And banks were in doldrums after Standard & Poor’s announced downgrades and Merrill Lynch said that European banks face another “very tough” year in 2009. The US dollar was up against the yen, the euro and the British pound. Sterling recovered some ground from its recent record lows against the euro.