LONDON -- Fears of further falls in Chinese demand drove mining stocks lower in London, prompting the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) to fall about 1.5% over the week to 5,576, receding further from that 6,000 level so loved by pundits, but which doesn't actually mean anything.
And elections in Europe shook the markets a little this week, amid fears that French President-Elect Francois Hollande will take his country in a dangerously socialist direction, and that the new Greek government will abandon the austerity measures it needs to get its bailouts.
But in Paris, the CAC 40 (INDEX: ^FCHI ) remained remarkably sanguine, dropping just 1% to 3,130. In Greece, however, the Athens General Index (INDEX: ^GD.AT ) lost nearly 11% to end the week at 612. Germany's DAX (INDEX: ^GDAXI ) dipped on Tuesday but rallied to end the week up 1% at 6,580.
A tough week for UK miners and bankers
Leading London mining shares that took a hit included BHP Billiton, which lost 3% during the week to end on 1,864 pence; Anglo American, which fell by more than 3% to 2,187 pence; and Xstrata, dropping 7% to 1,052 pence.
Is there no end to the banking crisis? Fallout from JPMorgan Chase's shocking $2 billion loss hit UK banks this week, with the bailed-out two taking the brunt of it. Royal Bank of Scotland dived 6% to 23 pence, with Lloyds Banking Group showing a 5% fall to 31 pence.
But J Sainsbury brought a bit of cheer to the FTSE, as shares in the UK's third largest supermarket gained more than 3% to 315 pence, after it announced healthy results.
Eurozone banks, too
Among other European shares, Banco Santander lost more than 5% of its value on Wednesday, hitting a low of 4.58 euros, after the Spanish government effectively nationalized struggling competitor Bankia, before promptly regaining its loss the following day. Despite fears of a possible Spanish banking crisis, Santander ended the week at 4.87 euros.
Telecoms did well
A few green islands stood out among a sea of red on France's CAC 40, with Alcatel-Lucent putting on a very nice 9% to end at 1.22 euros, after the launch of the $650 million West African Cable System, linking Africa to Europe.
The only serious riser on Germany's DAX was Deutsche Telekom, which reported forecast-busting earnings, thanks in part to a big boost from T-Mobile USA. The result was an almost 5% rise, to 8.90 euros.
Things otherwise looked glum there, with insurer Allianz losing 4.5% to 80.17 euros, even though it reported a positive first quarter and looks to be on track to hit its full-year forecasts. And Deutsche Lufthansa fell 3% to 9.26 euros in the week that it appointed Simone Menne, formerly of BMI, as its new CFO.
Finally, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has spent more than $1 billion buying the shares of one of the UK's most successful large caps.
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