LONDON, Dec 8 (AFP): European stock markets fell in early dealing Thursday in the wake of losses by Wall Street and Asian markets, with banking shares the centre of attention in London.
The British capital's FTSE 100 index of leading shares fell 0.42 per cent to 5,505.60 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 slid 0.72 per cent to 5,228.99 points and in Paris the CAC 40 declined 0.69 per cent to 4,628.58.
The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone shares declined by 0.52 per cent to 3,487.05 points.
The euro stood at 1.1765 dollars.
In London, banking stocks were in focus amid a trading update by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBoS) that was deemed disappointing by analysts.
Wall Street shares had ended lower Wednesday as investors turned cautious after the recent year-end rally. Some analysts said strong US economic data of late raised concerns about possible higher US inflation and interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.42 per cent at 10,810.91 points and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 0.39 per cent to 2,252.01 points.
The broad-market Standard and Poor's 500 index shed 0.50 per cent to 1,257.37.
In London, the share price of RBoS fell 0.23 per cent to 1,707 pence after Britain's second biggest bank said its 2005 pre-tax earnings were on track to meet market expectations.
Analysts expected RBoS to deliver underlying earnings per share of 175 pence for the year.
"The 'in-line with market expectations' may prove to be a modest disappointment given recent upgrades" by banking peers, said broker Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.
Other banking issues met some profit-taking in reaction to the RBoS announcement, with Barclays down 0.41 per cent to 600.5 pence and HSBC 0.92 per cent lower at 920 pence.
Standard Chartered dropped 2.14 per cent to 1,189 pence, as brokers continued to react to a disappointing trading update by the British-based emerging markets bank Wednesday.
Aside from banks, PandO fell 1.43 per cent to 482.5 pence on its first day back in the FTSE 100 index. PandO has replaced British plasterboard group BPB, which de-listed after its takeover by French construction materials giant Saint-Gobain.