By Mia Lamar
International companies trading in New York closed sharply lower Thursday as investor confidence waned following lackluster readings on the strength of the global economy.
The Bank of New York index of American depositary receipts fell 2.7% to 115.68. Financial stocks slumped as investors grappled with disappointing housing and employment data in the U.S. and worrying manufacturing reports out of the euro zone.
The European index fell 2.5% to 107.16. U.K. bank stocks were among the biggest decliners on reports that ratings firm Moody's would be downgrading U.K. banks late Thursday as part of a long-planned review.
U.S.-listed shares of Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS, RBS.LN), which is 83%-owned by taxpayers, dropped 5% to $7.48. Barclays PLC (BCS, BARC.LN) fell 3.9% to $12.45 while Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LYG, LLOY.LN) fell 3.1% to $1.88.
The Asian index fell 2.8% to 114.42 The region's energy companies ended sharply lower as oil futures slumped on demand worries. U.S. crude-oil futures settled below $80 a barrel Thursday for the first time since October, while Brent crude futures closed below $90 a barrel for the first time since December 2010.
Among individual stocks, CNOOC Ltd. (CEO, 0883.HK) declined 5.9% to $186.50 and PetroChina Co. (PTR, K3OD.SG, 0857.HK, 601857.SH) ended 4.5% lower at $131.24. Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. (SHI, K3DD.SG, 600688.SH, 0338.HK) dropped 4.3% to $29.02.
The Latin American index fell 3.3% to 309.69 and the emerging markets index declined 3.5% to 263.29.
Shares of South America's largest banks followed their overseas peers lower, with Brazil's Itau Unibanco Holding (ITUB, ITUB4.BR) shedding 4.7% and Argentina's Banco Macro SA (BMA, BMA.BA) losing 4.4%, respectively, in the New York session.
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