LONDON -- Europe was driven by two major banking events this week. First, after initially denying a bailout was planned, Spain admitted that it would be accepting up to 100 billion euros from its neighbors to keep its banks solvent after all. But that didn't stop Spanish 10-year bond yields breaking the 7% barrier for the first time, with Moody's downgrading them to one notch up from "junk."
Bank of England liquidity boost
Over in London, the Bank of England announced a new package of cheap credit for British banks for them to lend to business customers, as liquidity still proves to be a problem.
But though it was a volatile week, there was little overall movement in the indexes, and the the FTSE 100
Similarly, the French CAC40
Spain's IBEX 35
U.K. banks recover
Stocks in London were dominated by banks, which responded well to the Bank of England's news, and in a rare week, all four of the main High Street banks gained ground. The two taxpayer-owned ones did best, with Royal Bank of Scotland gaining 15% to 249 pence and Lloyds Banking Group putting on 14% to 31 pence. Barclays was a little behind after perking up 7% to 200 pence, with HSBC Holdings bringing up the rear with a 4% boost to 550 pence.
Some hard-pressed miners recovered a little, too, with Fresnillo and Randgold Resources each up 7%, to 1,512 pence and 5,965 pence, respectively, and BHP Billiton managing a 2% rise to 1,799 pence.
The biggest FTSE 100 faller of the week was struggling fund manager Man Group, which fell back nearly 9% to 72 pence, close to its record low point.
And across the Union
In Paris, the CAC 40 was led by cement giant Lafarge, which gained 7% to 32.90 euros after announcing debt-cutting plans and being featured in takeover talks to buy up Indian cement plants. A couple of French banks enjoyed some euro-relief too, with Credit Agricole up 3.5% to 3.26 euros and BNP Paribas up 3.3% to 29.39 euros.
Motor companies featured among the French fallers, with Renault losing 7.5% to 31 euros and Peugot falling 6.5% to 7.52 euros.
German DAX stocks were mixed, with chemical and pharmaceutical specialist Bayer gaining nearly 8% to 53.34 euros, and electrical utility E.ON up 5.6% to 15.23 euros. Nothing else managed more than 5% on the week.
And in contrast to France, German auto manufacturers fell. Bayerische Motoren Werke, better known as BMW (OTC: BAMXF), lost 5% to 55.94 euros, and Daimler fell 3.6% to 34.03 euros.
Finally, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has spent more than $1 billion buying the shares of one of the U.K.'s most successful large caps. Clearly, he thinks there are bargains to be had within Britain's FTSE 100, and you can discover the details of his investment -- including the price he paid -- by reading this free report.
The Motley Fool is helping Britain invest. Better. And with the economy so uncertain, we're urging everyone to read "10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market" -- it may transform your wealth Request your free, no-obligation copy.
Further investment opportunities:
Alan Oscroft owns no shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Berkshire Hathaway and BMW. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
More from The Motley Fool
The Dow Has Ridden U.S. Strength Higher, but Will Europe Bring the Bull Market Down?
While the U.S. economy looks increasingly strong, Europe is still in a heap of trouble.
Why the Dow's European Central Bank Boost Didn't Last Long
Investors in the Dow Jones Industrials were waiting for Europe's central bank to make its policy move, but the gains disappeared quickly.
FTSE Shares That Soared and Plunged This Week
A look back at the week in London.